The incredible growth of the Chinese construction equipment market over the last decade has put a squeeze on the supply of talented technicians, salespeople, and parts and logistics specialists across the country. This gap has made competition to attract and retain employees fierce. Following a survey of 100,000 people, it seems that Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is winning the so-called War of talent – having just been named ‘Best Employer 2012’ in China’s construction equipment industry.
An expert judging panel – including the Human Resources Association of China – reviewed the survey results to award Volvo CE ‘Best Employer 2012’ at the first ever CHO Summit in Yantai, Shandong, last week (September 20). Accepting the award, Inge Zhou, vice president of Corporate Communications for Volvo CE in China, used the occasion to announce the company’s nationwide training program – in partnership with vocational colleges – to encourage new talent into the industry.
“With so much competition for talent in China’s construction equipment sector, we are delighted to have been recognized as the industry’s Best Employer,” says Inge. “At Volvo CE, we strive to offer our employees much more than just a job – we offer an inclusive management style, a caring and empathetic company culture and progressive philosophy. This forward-thinking nature is what’s behind our Competence Development Centers, helping to train young people in the areas of service and sales.”
Developing talent in China
Volvo CE China identified that there was a gap in the nation’s workforce – there are too few qualified service technicians, knowledgeable salespeople, and parts and logistics specialists to go round. One reason for this is the cost burden such courses put on vocational colleges, as Jackey Cheng, Competence Development Manager at Volvo CE, explains: “The components that students need for practical training sessions are very expensive – so these technical courses are the first to be dropped if a college is under financial pressure. That’s why we’ve partnered with colleges all over the country to contribute towards such costs and help develop new talent for the benefit of the whole industry.”
Five vocational colleges have partnered with Volvo CE China and its local dealers as part of this innovative program and another three centers will be established in the coming year. These Competence Development Centers are the first of their kind and offer a wide range of technical and sales training modules, taught by industry-leading professionals with hands-on experience. All the students have access to the latest machinery components for use during practical sessions. Volvo CE China has also had extensive input into the syllabus and teaching materials.
Students enrolled in the course are offered apprenticeship placements in Volvo CE dealerships – which can lead to a permanent position with the award-winning employer. “We are always on the look-out for high caliber trainees and where possible are glad to offer successful candidates a permanent position,” says Jackey, who has been integral in building the relationship with the colleges. The company hopes to recruit up to 250 newly-qualified employees each year through the program.
“Educating and supporting future generations has always been important to Volvo CE,” says Inge. “The competence development project reflects our efforts to support the career development of young people in China. This supports our wider social responsibility to contribute towards the sustainable development of the Chinese construction equipment market.”
Best of the best
Two of China’s leading industry websites – China Construction Machinery Business Online (www.cmbol.com) and China Construction Machinery Talents (www.21-cho.org) – conducted the online survey probing 100,000 industry employees about their attitudes towards their employers – and Volvo CE China came out on top.
“This award signifies that our employees in China genuinely appreciate the lengths we go to as an employer to keep them engaged,” says Inge. “The Volvo Way – a unique philosophy that promotes diversity and inclusiveness within the company – our well-respected brand image and our supportive attitude towards progression is what attracts workers to us – and what ultimately makes them stay with us.”
Volvo CE facilities across the world have been recognized for their popularity as an employer with Volvo do Brasil appearing in Brazil’s Top 10 Employers list every year since it began, and reaching the top spot twice, and Volvo CE’s UK division appearing in the prestigious 100 Best Companies to Work For 2012, run by the Sunday Times newspaper.