Siemens has youngest workforce in India

Mumbai: Indian subsidiaries of multinational companies are usually viewed through the lens of their size in comparison to the parent. What’s striking about


, which has been operating in India since 1867 when the first telegraph line was laid between Calcutta and London by the German conglomerate, is that it has the

youngest workforce

in India.

The average age at the 23,000-strong Siemens in India — which is into energy-efficient technologies, combined cycle turbines for power generation and power transmission solutions — is 28 years. It is much younger than Germany (47 years), where Siemens is headquartered, or the US (37 years). A young workforce could reflect a vibrant culture. However, it can also be a challenge.

In an exclusive interview with TOI, Siemens CHRO Janina Kugel talked about a unique challenge the organisation is facing globally. “From the global perspective, we are facing a bit of a challenge. A number of managers are retiring in the next five years, and the next generation is not really like them. It is about training young people and it’s also about having enough people in the organisation to not lose the experience,” said Kugel.

Given that India has a young talent for Siemens, the subsidiary has an advantage of adopting new technologies at a faster clip. “India has been making tremendous growth over the last five years. You can only grow if the market offers the business opportunities and if you have the talent. If this continues, India will grow. India is already for us market No. 4 after Germany, the US and China,” said Kugel. Revenues of Siemens in India, which is 75% owned by the parent, grew 12% to Rs 12,725 crore in fiscal year 2018.

The aspirations of the millennial generation are quite different from the baby boomers. Today’s millennial manager, who comes from a self-sufficient background, is not lured by compensation alone. What matters is gaining varied experiences. “Companies have to get used to the fact that people want to rotate more. We have to make more investments to get people on board. We also have to be very clear that people gain different experiences,” said Kugel.

Kugel said hiring is the most expensive part in a people’s process.

“If people are leaving the organisation within the first year, the organisation loses an annual salary. We have countries where the attrition rate is lower than 3% — many European countries, for example. It becomes a huge challenge to get anything new into the organisation because people have not made any other experiences. Attrition rate in India is under 10%, which is healthy. It’s good that we have a churn. At the same time, it’s not a churn that destabilises the business,” said Kugel.

With a younger generation joining the workforce, the culture of Siemens is undergoing a change that includes flexibility to work from home and a relaxed dress code. “If you would have been getting into Siemens’ headquarters 10 years ago, you would have been wearing a tie and be formally dressed. It’s no longer the case. A change in dress code was not announced, it just happened,” said Kugel.

But Kugel prefers to be transparent and upfront during the hiring process rather than hire a wrong candidate. “Sometimes when people come and tell me, ‘I would love to work in a startup’. I tell them there are a few areas that, may be, are very startup-like at Siemens. But seriously, if you want to work in a startup, then you shouldn’t join us,” said Kugel.


Author: Prakash Poojary

Business Analyst

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