Added: 11th October 2018 by Schneider Electric
Meet the women graduates thriving at Schneider Electric.
Global energy management and automation can be a very exciting area to work in.
And graduates at Schneider Electric gain deep insight into what it’s like to build a career in the global energy sector, tackling some of the world’s most pressing energy challenges.
Each graduate gains valuable experience across the business via a 12-month rotation – often in departments that they’ve never before considered – to fully equip them for their future roles with the company.
Where Women Work caught up with some of Schneider Electric’s talented graduates to find out how their early career was progressing and to discuss the career pathways being chosen within the company.
Poppy, pictured above with her adventurous colleagues, has been participating on Schneider Electric’s graduate scheme and is transitioning into a full-time role. “The most exciting thing about working in this industry is how quickly our work moves and evolves,” says Poppy. “Nothing stays the same for long and anything you do has to be done quickly so that it is still accurate and up to date. It’s really exciting working for a company that is focusing on giving power to people who don’t currently have it and making power accessible for everyone.”
Poppy works with Key Account Managers who look after Schneider Electric’s largest distribution customers in the UK. “The most exciting part about my role is that I am working with some of Schneider Electrics biggest customers, that are responsible for a huge chunk of the company’s revenue. I am involved in meetings with high level employees both internally and externally giving me great exposure,” explains Poppy.
Options are open for Poppy
“The best piece of career advice I’ve been given is to have a career path, but be flexible,” says Poppy. “This has been really valuable as I have an idea of the career path I would like to go down and have been building relationships along this path. Because of this advice, I am more accepting of different challenges that may lead me down a different path and I have accepted a role in a different team to the one I originally thought I would be in. I am looking forward to what it may bring.”
Poppy finds Schneider Electric’s open culture very impressive. “All communications are shared throughout the organisation and everyone is made to feel like a valued member. There are also many opportunities to make recommendations and suggestions.”
Empowering women at Schneider Electric
“Schneider Electric has a ‘UK Ladies at Schneider’ page that is dedicated to the women at Schneider Electric in the UK,” explains Poppy. “On this page we can talk openly and we’ve also started to have meet once a quarter to continue to support and empower each other.”
Rona has enjoyed her time as a graduate rotating around the different areas of the Schneider Electric business and has covered a huge amount of ground in a short space of time.
“In an organisation as large as Schneider, it’s a fantastic way to see the variety of fields in which we deliver energy management and automation products and services,” comments Rona. “The development plan for everyone on the scheme is suited for each individual, so I have really been able to focus on the areas that are important to me.”
As global demand for energy is set to double by 2050, how we use and manage energy supplies has to change to become more clean, efficient and sustainable. Finding solutions to the world’s energy challenge can be challenging, yet Rona remains excited about seeing first-hand the practical and innovative solutions implemented by Schneider Electric.
Rona aims for a rewarding marketing career at Schneider Electric
Following her graduate rotation, Rona hopes to focus her career at Schneider Electric in marketing. “Marketing is such a varied position, the focus ranges from setting prices for products to developing promotional campaigns. I think the best way to describe the job is that we research and understand the market trends and the needs of our clients so that the business can best suit these and deliver the best experience possible to our customers,” comments Rona.
“Marketing supports so many other functions of the business and when you’re still in the early stages of your career you get to collaborate with all corners of the company. We also attend a wide variety of trade shows throughout the year and having the chance to see the breadth of what each industry has to offer is very impressive.”
A few months into her graduate rotation, Carmen is working in areas that are different from anything she has previously experienced. “I feel as though I am continuously working towards something – especially my own self-improvement – which is of great importance to me. When I left university, one of my biggest concerns was becoming stagnant, and reaching a plateau in terms of my personal and professional development. There are so many opportunities for learning and development at Schneider Electric.”
Peer to peer career advice
“The best career advice I ever received was about being authentic in the workplace, and the importance of never submerging what is uniquely you,” comments Carmen. “A lot of people struggle to find confidence in their own skin, but if you are authentic and honest, people will naturally gravitate towards you, and trust you.”
Career longevity at Schneider Electric
“The average tenure of a Schneider Electric employee in the UK is 15 years. This demonstrates Schneider Electric’s ability to nurture careers, and it is a reflection of the culture that exists within the company. However, this also creates challenges in terms of gender and age profile. Although we are striving for a gender and age profile that is reflective of society, this is difficult when the retention rate is so high and turnover so low. The graduate and apprentice schemes are actively working to combat moving more young women into key roles, with the ideal outcome being career progression of women into senior management roles, and ensuring diverse and representative leadership,” explains Carmen.
“The early talent programmes, such as the graduate scheme are an impactful force for good in terms of encouraging women into careers within Schneider Electric. Although it is evident that Schneider Electric is making positive steps towards bringing about diversity and inclusion, the challenge lies around changing attitudes and culture, which doesn’t happen overnight.”
Emily is quickly establishing a reputation in her graduate rotation as someone who makes a great effort to find out answers to tricky technical questions. She strives to constantly apply her new-found knowledge to help Schneider Electric solve some of today’s biggest energy problems.
Emily’s works in software development where she helps customers to understand their energy consumption and make changes, enabling them to become more energy efficient. “Software can also be used to help with preventative maintenance, alerting to problems which can be solved before they become major issues,” explains Emily.
Navigating problems in innovative ways
Working for Schneider Electric has helped Emily to navigate problems in a different way. “I always use to get very worried when issues arose,’ she comments. “It’s so easy to overthink problems and make them feel much bigger than they really are. Now I know to take a step back and put things in perspective, which helps me to find a solution.”
Cindy is supporting an exciting project for completing a metering system at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. “It’s brilliant to be involved in a big and challenging project for sites like Tottenham Hotspur, Next Generation Data Centre and University College London,” says Cindy. Her primary role involves commissioning metering systems on customer sites to help them manage their energy usage. She loves getting involved on these projects from the very start and seeing them through to completion.
Diversity is valued at Schneider Electric
Cindy loves the work culture at Schneider Electric. “People are warm and friendly to each other despite different backgrounds and nationalities. I feel especially supported by the various gender diversity programmes at Schneider, and I think people have a good awareness of gender issues.”
So what career advice would Cindy offer? “Widen your social circle,” she says, “it’s especially important when working in a large organisation like Schneider Electric.”