Gerardo Kanahuati
Managing Director
Mariana Villa
Automotive Leader
View from the Top

Leveraging Global Resources to Source Talent

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 12:20

Q: Hays is a leading international recruitment company with presence in more than 30 countries around the world, but why did the company decide to enter the Mexican market?

GK: Aside from Brazil, the company did not have any operations in Latin America, so when the group began researching the region, it became obvious as to which market had the most potential to grow. Even despite recent economic events, everything seemed to point to Mexico. The country has a booming economic market, affordable manpower, and close proximity to the US, which is particularly attractive for the automotive industry. As a manufacturing country, engineering and supply chain services in human resources have become indispensable. The company has adjusted its offerings based on the needs of the market, but we also plan on increasing these offerings when required.

Q: When compared to other recruitment firms, what are the main advantages that Hays can offer its clients in the automotive sector?

GK: Hays is specialized and has good knowledge of the market. We understand the technical issues that our clients have, which makes us experts in the field and able to offer a fast response time. We are also able to gather in-depth information by leveraging our global presence and experience. In fact, one of our strategic pillars is to maintain standardization with our clients, so if we are already working with them in Germany or China, they will receive the same level of service with the same standards whenever they approach us elsewhere. We utilize information that is gathered globally in order to understand the trends within the industry, and then provide feedback to our clients, not only in a recruitment sense, but also at a consultancy level. We can advise them on what they will be facing, and how they should be preparing themselves in terms of talent.

MV: Talent is becoming scarce in the automotive industry. We see more companies investing in Mexico, but we do not see the same percentage of people exiting university with the skills that these companies require. This is a serious bottleneck. Our integral service can help anticipate the needs of our clients, while advising them on how to seize future opportunities. In highly skilled specializations such as this one, it is easy to poach people from a competitor as opposed to developing talent. This has repercussions in terms of salary inflation and market competitiveness, so we have to keep in mind the reasons for companies to come to Mexico.

Q: How does Hays participate in discussions between universities and OEMs in order to align their needs?

GK: While Mexico has a significant amount of people, the skills they require to work with these companies are not yet fully developed. By the time some people are ready to work, their knowledge has become somewhat obsolete or archaic due to new technologies being introduced at a significant pace. The educational system has to change, and some companies have already taken the first steps to achieve that. Some companies have established their own universities, while others have been liaising with educational institutes to find solutions for their problems. One of these solutions is for students to work and study at the same time, enabling them to provide feedback about how to improve their programs. The main complaint, however, is that people lack the skills that companies require in specific fields.

MV: In highly skilled industries such as automotive, there is an issue with retaining talent, so many companies think twice about training people, only for them to leave a few months later. Automotive companies really need to work together in order to develop the industry as a whole, reducing competition in the retention of human talent. If this does not happen soon, the market will become much hotter, the talent pool will dry up, and salaries will increase to the point of being unpayable.

Q: How are companies balancing the need for foreign talent and local talent, and how is Hays contributing to that?

MV: I think that the paradigm of automotive companies hiring from within the industry needs to be shattered. We are trying to persuade companies to hire from industries like aviation, due to the engineering similarities of the two sectors. Once we repeat this idea many times, companies begin to see its merits. It may sometimes take a little longer for these hires to develop, but they will pay off in the long term. They also have a little more loyalty because of the opportunity to develop their own personal skills and improve their credentials. This trend already works the other way, and people are jumping ship from automotive companies to other types of manufacturing industries.

Q: What are the company’s plans for expansion in the automotive industry in 2015?

GK: The creation of the next Hays Global Skills Index will begin in the second semester of our financial year, which is between July and June. We are already gathering some information in order to develop and structure the index. To be honest, it is very difficult to predict because, economically speaking, GDP is constantly being revised. Having said that, the automotive industry is very susceptible to oil prices, so I think we will see a slight improvement in the way that the skill index behaves, but this change will not be dramatic.