Virgilio Ruiz
President and Founder
Grupo Hegemonía
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View from the Top

Human Capital: An Investment not an Expense

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 19:17

Q: What was the main driver behind the company’s creation and growth?

A: In 1984, Grupo Hegemonía started operations by providing transportation services for drilling fluid to PEMEX. The company was composed of 1,800 employees who worked on a 24-hour basis. From my perspective, competitors must not be seen as enemies and this is why I have always looked to establish strategic alliances with them. At first, the group started lending personnel to other companies in the region. The benefiting company took on the cost of paying those workers a daily wage, while we took care of the social costs like health insurance. This situation became common among the company’s competitors and resulted in the creation of the human capital business. Grupo Hegemonía started to work in the personnel services business but, as the tourism sector was enjoying a boom, we also developed a business unit that provided services for this segment, mostly on the Pacific Coast and in the Caribbean.

Industry needs have supported our growth, not only in the oil and gas sector but in other industries as well. Particularly, we started to work in the oil and gas sector when the offshore drilling took off in Mexico. Many foreign companies entered this market and we decided to focus on this clientele rather than on PEMEX. From that point, we started to qualify our personnel by acquiring the necessary certifications that these international players demand. As the provided service was outsourced, Grupo Hegemonía was in charge of all the related logistics, such as transporting personnel between their place of origin and the platform. The company also entered into the food and lodging business, where we worked with 49 platforms between 2011 and 2012. We believe the main asset of any company is its human capital and we prefer to approach this issue as an investment, rather than an expense.

Q: What is the company’s plan to increase its foothold in the country?

A: Even before the Energy Reform was established, Grupo Hegemonía started working with private players. Sixty percent of our portfolio is made up of foreign companies and 40 percent is divided between national businesses and PEMEX. We are not afraid of competition or meeting international standards, which are the factors that push us to achieve constant improvement. Among our services, the recruitment segment is the most popular. In terms of professional training, we are partnered with Falck Safety Services. The company has 38 training centers at a global level and in Mexico, Grupo Hegemonía has held 40 percent of its operations since 2010. In fact, this company was recently acquired by the Nordic private equity fund Polaris and changed its name to RelyOn Nutec. We are optimistic that the oil and gas industry in Mexico will flourish but, in the meantime, the company is exploring other options as diversification is key in our expansion strategy. We are motivated to search for new opportunities for the company and its employees. The company has 700 people working in the personnel services segment and the goal is to double this number by the end of 2019. Our client portfolio is diverse. While some companies require only one employee, others need 800 professionals and we are prepared to work with all of them.

Q: How would you assess the human capital offer in the country?

A: Compared to other countries, Mexico lacks human capital preparation. Nevertheless, Mexicans have the ability to learn quickly and the most relevant proof is that many of them are succeeding across borders. For instance, we have known cases of Mexicans working in offshore platforms located in the North Sea, the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. When the company partnered with Falck Safety Services, we learned new things in the management area and the same happens with national employees who start working with international companies. Regarding academic preparation, there is a broad array of programs at universities but recent graduates lack training. Rather than the university background, I think it is a generational issue. In addition, many public and private universities lack a long-term vision; students continue to be offered programs in obsolete professions.

Grupo Hegemonía is a Mexican company that is committed to human capital development. It works with big industry players as well as small entrepreneurs. The company’s employees have wide experience and comply with the highest quality standards.