Mónica Flores
President LATAM
ManpowerGroup
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View from the Top

Finding the Right Fit a Challenge

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 14:27

Q: Technicians and engineers are on the list of top 10 most difficult positions to fill. How is Manpower helping its auto clients overcome the deficit of these professionals?

A: ManpowerGroup is involved in multiple initiatives, encompassing associations with academic institutions and technical schools. In addition to private institutions, we also have partnerships with governmental branches, such as municipalities and boroughs. We inform them about the set of skills that manufacturing industries need from their workforce, pinpointing the deficiencies the industry detects in the training given to young professionals, as well as the changes that they could implement. Finally, we support them in the creation of new academic plans that cater to the needs of the industry. ManpowerGroup and its partners also develop short training courses that fit the specifications of available job positions. By creating a clear plan of action in collaboration with its clients, ManpowerGroup is able to define the new requirements of the industry, predict future needs and supply customers with well-prepared professionals.

Q: What new tendencies have you detected that will help Mexico boost its automotive industry?

A: Companies have become much more demanding when it comes to creating their desired employee profiles. Although our clients require applicants to have both technical knowledge and professional experience in their sector, candidates who possess soft or transferable skills are also in demand. These skills give employees the flexibility to learn new technologies and techniques. Manpower connects them with virtual workshops that have a global reach, which is particularly useful since much of the automotive industry’s investment comes from abroad. Moreover, the majority of top managerial positions are filled by foreigners, requiring applicants to speak a second language, understand different professional cultures and have the ability to adapt to the working styles of numerous countries. This also applies to the most skilled technicians because they tend to travel the most. Geographical mobility allows them to learn new techniques and share their experience with their national and foreign counterparts.

Q: How are you molding your services to satisfy the industry’s need for specialists?

A: Growth expectations in manufacturing have remained high since 2013, when the segment peaked at 26 percent growth during the first quarter. We believe this trend will continue for years to come. The automotive industry needs people who can adapt and change quickly. This means learning how to use new technology on a regular basis to keep up with the rapid pace of the sector. Teaching and polishing a professional’s skillset on the job is another trial the industry is facing, as both operational activities and the number of job positions are decreasing.

Q: How can ManpowerGroup suport Mexico in its ambition to become an advanced manufacturing hub with sufficient workers with the right skillset?

A: We encourage linkup programs between the private sector and academic institutions, such as internships or professional practices. Nevertheless, our input is limited and we cannot change Mexico’s educational system. Effective change must come from collaboration between the government, private companies, academic institutions and individuals to raise the level of standards and competitiveness in the training of young professionals. Moreover, there are deficits in areas such as mechatronics, robotics, automatic system maintenance and plastic manufacturing, where there are insufficient graduates to fill the available positions. We have not been able to incentivize these professions, leading to complications for the industry. If we want to potentiate every opportunity, we must develop Mexican students according to the demand for professionals. The German dual education system is an interesting approach to the development of an appropriate workforce for the manufacturing industry and it is becoming increasingly respected in Mexico. However, true change can only be achieved if this model is in place from the earliest stage of a child’s academic development, which requires a radical change of mentality among families and schools. ManpowerGroup is an official Certification and Evaluation Entity of the National Skills System (CONOCER) for transferable skills that are relatable to any industry, an achievement that may be a halfway house to the dual learning system.