Q: What differentiates Kelly Services’ offering from other recruiters for the automotive industry?
A: Kelly Services is differentiated from its competitors in terms of specialized services. Our competitors are focused on leadership and key positions and, while we can do the same, we find talented people down the ranks or even people working on the assembly line or manufacturing side. We also deliver Business Processing Outsourcing solutions, in which we manage the entirety of a company’s process outside of its core business operations. For the automotive industry, Kelly Services can build up solutions for supply chain management, logistics, inventory, or packaging. We are also aligned with automotive companies on the human talent side, through a program called Flexible Human Capital. The automotive industry has peaks and troughs in its production schedule, so if companies need 500 more people at peak production times, they cannot afford to have 500 more employees at other times throughout the year. That is when they come to us and we supply that extra talent for the period of time that is required. When a peak season has ended in the automotive industry, we will move that staff to another industry that has a different peak season.
Q: Many automotive companies around the world are shifting from a static to a fluid leadership style. How do you see this playing out in the Mexican automotive industry?
A: Management styles in Mexico will not migrate toward those seen in other countries. This is not because the companies here cannot make this change, but because culturally, Mexican workers need a structured management approach. A structured, yet strategic management style, will pull the talent along and make them feel they have a specific path to follow. The automotive industry needs precise goals. I know this fluid management style is a growing trend but I would not recommend any automotive firms do so in Mexico, given the nuances of this market.
Q: How do talent searches change when looking for someone who can fit into a Japanese, German, or American corporate culture?
A: There are major differences. In the automotive industry, the right candidates have the right knowledge but they must also match the corporate culture. When we assess talents for specific companies, we seek to understand if the person’s abilities and values will meet those of the searching company. Our psychometric and psychological tests assess whether the candidates and companies will match. Not doing so would be unfair for both companies and candidates. The career development path and its accompanying opportunities for professional growth are also important, and could involve cross-training, which is very popular among engineers. The opportunity to go abroad is also crucial for Mexican talent so they can be exposed to different ways of doing things. When they return, they will apply their knowledge to support the growth of the local automotive business. Engineers with more experience will be interested in comparing companies, the different technologies they will work with, and alternative ways of doing business. Incorporating those opportunities into a job offer will make it easier for OEMs and suppliers alike to capture and retain the best engineers.
Q: Mexico is progressing as a destination for automotive R&D and engineering. To what extent has Kelly Services been seeking executives who will develop these types of ventures?
A: We are focused on specific targeted talent that can support the investment that automotive companies are making in Mexico, while finding the right talent for the culture and mobility required by the industry at this time. We are specializing in medium- and high-level managerial positions. For technical and professional specifics in the automotive industry, 95% of positions are now staffed by Mexicans. Some vacancies are still filled from abroad because of corporate decisions made at the top. Japanese companies like to have Japanese leadership abroad, and the same is true for Italian and German companies. However, it is increasingly evident that once a company and its technology are deployed, executives realize that having nationals in management is an advantage. The knowledge and expertise that Mexican executives have about how to do business locally is an obvious advantage. Companies like Ford or GM that have been here for many years already have 99% local employment.