Q&A: Gabriele Metz: “The labour market is dynamic; employees do not have to stay with one organisation to secure an income”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 2 Nov 2016

Ericsson’s head of talent management for the Middle East and East Africa talks about tracking down the right talent in the UAE

Gabriele MetzAs the talent landscape evolves, organisations can be choosy about which talent they employ, but seeking out and retaining the best can still pose challenges. Recruitment is an expensive process to get wrong – Gabriele Metz, head of talent management at Ericsson for the Middle East and Africa, tells People Management how to get it right, ahead of her presentation at the HR Summit in Dubai on 14 November.
Is recruiting the right people taking longer?
During my 10 years in the region, which I’ve spent mostly in the high-tech sector, I have noticed a significant increase in the availability of quality talent. An extended ‘time to fill’ cycle is often not caused by a lack of talent, but rather the fast changing market dynamics that impact the recruiting process.
 
How do you ensure your recruitment efforts reach as many different groups as possible?
Ericsson puts a lot of focus and effort on developing internal talent, particularly for leadership roles. However, to attract young diverse talent into our organisation we launched the ICT Professional Foundation Programme last year, which enabled local third and fourth grade students of selected technical universities across the Middle East Region to seek an advanced certification in ICT. We particularly focus on achieving a gender balance with participating students. The successful completion of the ICTFP qualifies a candidate to apply for relevant internship positions later on.
 
Are there any specific challenges in getting employees to commit to long-term careers?
The labour market is very dynamic, particularly for well-qualified professionals. It means that employees do not have to stay with one organisation to secure an income, but have the choice to either stay or move on. While Ericsson has a high engagement level around the globe according to our employee engagement survey, it is particularly high here – seven per cent above the global norm. Two of the key factors for the engagement are the fact that Ericsson invests in its talent and continuously provides growth and development opportunities, as well as the diverse and inclusive culture that enables everyone to be at their best.
 
What successful programmes have you found key to retaining talent?
Our ‘Mentoring Circle’ for female millennial talent is a great success. The circle consists of mentoring and coaching. As part of that, we provide our female talent with important knowledge on our regional diversity and inclusion agenda, our talent development processes, gender differences in language and behaviour and how you can interrupt unconscious bias. The coaching part, which runs in parallel, focuses on enabling our talent to feel empowered and develop self-awareness and self-esteem. The programme runs over 10 months and is in its second year – and because of the positive feedback, we will surely continue.