The key to retaining international talent

"Randstad has several hundred consultants at Northvolt Ett, most of them from countries other than Sweden," says Cecilia Mannheimer.
"Randstad has several hundred consultants at Northvolt Ett, most of them from countries other than Sweden," says Cecilia Mannheimer.

Managing talent, recruiting whole families and using English as the working language. These are some of the key issues when Randstad recruits for industrial initiatives in the north. "We have strong incentives to avoid fly-in, fly-out," says Cecilia Mannheimer.

Engelska 24 oktober 2023 09:54

A significant employment boom is expected in Västerbotten and Norrbotten if Almega's forecast of 50,000 jobs materializes. Filling these jobs, however, could lead to temporary contracts and "fly in-fly out," which would result in lower tax revenues for the regions, at least in the short term. But for international staffing firm Randstad, there are clear incentives to hire people only "once."

– We also want to recruit sustainably. We have every interest in finding a more sustainable solution. However, we understand that the normal course of human behavior means that we will have a transition with temporary solutions," says Cecilia Mannheimer, responsible for staffing and recruitment at Randstad.

But to run a business, Randstad can't keep hiring the same people over and over again.

– It would be very uneconomical, and besides, we want to be a long-term career partner for our talent.

One concept they work with is called tandem recruitment. It is seen as part of a sustainable solution to avoid "fly in-fly out".

– With tandem recruitment, we look at the whole family. If one person applies for a job through us, we are happy to help their partner or other family members find jobs in the area. By focusing on the whole family, it increases the likelihood that people will settle and build a life in the area.

Another key is building a sense of community, which can include simple things like Thursday night barbecues or more complex efforts like establishing medical centers.

Randstad is a major player at Northvolt Ett, and Mannheimer says there are several hundred consultants working at the battery manufacturer.

– And a large number of them are not from Sweden. You can ask how sustainable that is, but the fact is that people with production-related roles are less likely to move once they have a job. They are here in the first place because they want to live in Sweden. They see better living conditions here than in their home countries, and they want to be part of the green transition.

– They then recommend it to their friends, and Northvolt's transit accommodations make it work smoothly.

Randstad is also working on what they call "cross-border solutions," where they find talent in other countries and match it with their clients here with recruitment needs.

– Right now we're looking at Romania, where we're looking for talent that has both the skills and the ability to move. But we need a host client, and that's where English becomes essential.

When it comes to Northvolt, language has never been an obstacle.

Is it a significant problem elsewhere?

– In Sweden it's a big challenge. I'm from Gothenburg, and there are many companies there that say, 'In Hisingen, we speak Swedish'. To succeed in finding all the necessary skills, employers need to think differently. At Northvolt, they've understood this and use English as their working language, says Mannheimer.

Rather than expecting the municipality to take sole responsibility for training foreign workers in Swedish, Mannheimer believes that Randstad's "community" can work with the municipality to teach the consultants the language.

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