Career Advice Job Market Report

Career Forum Oct 2017: Expanding horizons in a multi-hub world with Schneider Electric


Chief human resources officer, Schneider Electric


What does your company do?

Schneider Electric is leading the digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries.

With revenues of around €25 billion in the financial year 2016, 144,000 employees, and customers in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in power management – medium voltage, low voltage and secure power, and in automation systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software.

In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest partner, integrator and developer community on our open platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency.

We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and sustainability ensures that “Life Is On” everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.


What activities do you have planned for your shadows?

The three-day programme is designed to give students a view into the Schneider Electric world. There are three distinct components: introduction to the company, exposure to the business, and living the employee life.

Students will receive an orientation about the company’s background, and an opportunity to tour our innovation hub. They will meet senior executives, both global and local, participate in sales and marketing brainstorming sessions, and sit-in on talent meetings to experience how a senior executive leads a team, and makes decisions. In addition to the inside-office experience, students will be exposed to field work and see our business at work through a market visit to few retail stores in Hong Kong. They will also be invited to attend a new product launch wherein they would be able to engage with our trade partners. The external exposure shall not be limited to business and customer interactions alone.

 The students will accompany the leader to a networking event at the French Chamber, with which Schneider has frequent interactions. Recognising the benefit of learning from young professionals, a couple of recent graduates will share their stories and journey, besides acting as a buddy to the students throughout the programme. At Schneider, we work hard and play hard too. Students will be invited to our social “WeCare” events (sports, well-being, and welfare) and experience the fun of being at the company.


What do you hope your shadows will get out of the experience?

A focus of the three-day design is to provide students with an understanding of who we are, and what we do as a business. Equally importantly though, we want to share and communicate what Schneider stands for as an employer, which is occasionally less visible.

Therefore, apart from the typical shadowing of a senior leader’s work-life, we want to offer students different ways of experiencing our employer value proposition (EVP) – the meaningful purpose of addressing our planet’s energy paradox; high performance culture; technology and digital transformation; and a diverse and inclusive environment. Through this immersive programme, we hope the students will recognise the uniqueness of Schneider, share our beliefs and values, and consider us an employer.

We want everyone everywhere in the company to have the same chance of success irrespective of their nationality or location. To deliver on this ambition, we created a multi-hub model and systematically relocated global jobs to these hubs across the world to have a truly international leadership. Being one of our three hubs, Hong Kong is where several top leaders, including the Chairman and CEO are based. Therefore, the students will see for themselves how multicultural and diverse teams work together in a truly global company.


What leadership skills are you personally hoping to impart?

Reflection is a must-do for all successful leaders. Our programme design incorporates time at the end of each day where students will practise the skill of reflection - consolidating what they saw and heard, and translate that into learning. I would like them to acquire the habit of reflection to identify opportunities of doing certain things differently to achieve better outcomes.

Being a leader also means trusting your people and empowering them to deliver what they think is best for the organisation. A leader guides and delegates, instead of micromanaging and looking at every little detail. I would like the students to understand the difference between managing and leading by observing the way we work with our globally dispersed teams.


What skills and experience are you looking for in applicants?

We look for people with an international mindset, a desire to influence and drive change and curiosity in learning, a wide range of interests and extracurricular activities; and a proclivity for creativity. Because of the nature of our business, we usually recruit students from computer science, data science, digital, and engineering. Having said that, we are also keen to acquire talent with general business, marketing and HR backgrounds.


What is the job market like for graduates in your industry?

Our industry is dynamic and full of excitement. With the Internet of Things (IoT), digitalisation, and a push for smart cities, youngsters who possess the requisite attributes and technical know-how in relevant disciplines are most sought after.

It is our belief that great people make Schneider Electric a great company. Acknowledging the highly competitive talent landscape, we have a refined approach to people. We value all employees. Our talent philosophy is to unleash the potential of our employees and build careers around the globe. We are committed to realising this ambition through accelerated development programmes; differentiated rewards and recognition; and an inclusive, transparent, fair environment. As I said before, Hong Kong is one of our three global hubs, where our global leaders are based. This is a unique facet, and certainly an appealing proposition for students who want to grow their career with a company that has sustainability at the heart of its strategy.