GE Energy is involved in some of the most exciting projects going in Australia’s energy sector today. CareerOne.com.au talks to Andrea Boyle, HR manager of GE Energy Australia & New Zealand, Transmission & Distribution, Asia about its graduate program.
What areas of the business are you involved with?
“I have responsibility for the HR activities across Australia & New Zealand, and look after one business unit for all of Australia and Asia - everything from recruitment, to organisation design, talent development and industrial relations. Broadly, GE Energy is made up of the Power & Water, Energy Services and Oil & Gas businesses - the term 'Infrastructure' is used to describe this group of businesses [as in GE Energy Infrastructure]. I think it's one of the most exciting areas of GE in Australia.
How big is the division and what sort of job roles are key within this division?
The Energy division employs over 65,000 employees in over 140 countries worldwide. In 2009 we reported USD $37.1B in revenue and expect significant growth in 2010. The key roles are in Engineering, Finance, Project Management, Commercial, Sales, Supply Chain, Information Management, Manufacturing and Customer Service. We have a very diverse technical requirement in the people we recruit - from engineers who can sell a Gas or Wind Turbine, to Hydrologists in our Water business to our software engineers who develop and implement Smart Grid technology.
Can you provide an overview of the grad program this year? How many? What sort of roles? What are the key dates and the selection process?
We have a diverse range of graduate programs globally; both undergraduate and MBA or experienced level programs, across a range of disciplines such as Finance, HR, IT, Manufacturing, and Commercial/Sales. Many of these programs are recruited on an ad-hoc basis and we do not have a defined timeline with those (HR, Manufacturing, Commercial/Sales). However, we will be recruiting a handful of Finance Graduates this year. There will be two intakes during July 2010 and January 2011. We're looking to establish an internship program targeting engineering students in the coming year.
What are you looking for in a resume? What jumps out at you about a candidate?
When we look at candidates, we're aiming to attract the best possible talent, with a view to fast tracking them through the organisation. Candidates that demonstrate life experience beyond university; whether that be volunteerism, intern work, a part-time job, travel or living overseas, bi-lingual abilities and leadership experiences in clubs or committees for example. The candidates that jump out are those well rounded candidates who present themselves in a professional, clear and succinct manner - first impressions are really important. Ultimately we're looking for people who will be our future leaders, who will thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced environment and want to build a valuable, rewarding career with GE.
How much do you expect candidates to know about the organisation?
There is an endless supply of information about GE, our products, projects and activity both locally and globally, available on the internet. We expect that candidates have taken the time to research GE and can demonstrate a genuine interest and passion about working for GE.
What can grads expect to learn in their first year at GE? What will they be exposed to?
The programs vary, but generally speaking they will complete between three and four rotations over a two-year period. They will be assigned a leader and mentor, and will be given meaningful assignments in various parts of the business. For example, an FMP (Finance Management Program) graduate might have an opportunity to complete rotations in Pricing, Financial Planning & Analysis, Tax or Controllership, just to name a few. These may be completed in various businesses; from GE Energy to GE Capital, GE Corporate or GE Healthcare...depending on where the need is. They will complete and be examined on formal coursework. They will complete a GE leadership program. They may have the opportunity to travel and will form part of a close-knit network of fellow program participants. They will be exposed to many GE Leaders and HR Leaders and will begin to develop their own network and reputation within GE very quickly.
What are some of the key projects the organisation is currently involved in?
GE has a business strategy, called ecomagination, which helps meet customers' demand for products that improve their bottom line and reduce their impact on the environment. Some of the projects we have are involved in creating innovative solutions to environmental challenges: Smart Grid - Smart Grid is a key area of power management designed to let us make smarter energy choices. We have people working on the technology that will increase power reliability and efficiency from the power generating station to homes and businesses. Smart grid is designed to deliver significant increases in energy efficiencies and allow us to include more renewable energy in what we do everyday.
IGCC - GE is cleaning up coal. Our new system — the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle — uses less water, increases fuel diversity and produces a cleaner fuel with fewer emissions. Gorgon - GE has a key role in the deployment of advanced liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology for the development of Gorgon, which will deliver cleaner energy on an unprecedented scale. The Gorgon natural gas project in Western Australia is described as Australia’s largest single resources project.
Can you tell me something about career paths at GE? Given it is a global company, can staff in Australia apply for jobs overseas? Are there any overseas placements for grads?
We have a global in-house 'Career Opportunity System' (COS for short). This allows all employees to see every vacant position across the globe. We ask people every year during the performance review process if they are 'mobile' - so we know already who is interested. There are opportunities for people to complete a 'bubble assignment' - a short term international assignment, where we may be wanting to help them develop a particular skill or we might need them to help us somewhere else in the world by sharing their expertise. Others may have the opportunity to relocate for a longer period of time with their families. As an example, I spent nearly 12 months in Thailand myself on a bubble assignment several years ago, working across the Asia Region. We encourage employees to own their career plan, but we work with them closely to develop it. Our annual 'people review' process gives managers and HR an opportunity to review our talent and help them develop plans to get them to where they want to go. Some graduate programs offer international rotations, but the opportunities mostly come afterwards for those that perform well! Our Finance Program graduates have an opportunity to apply for the 'Corporate Audit Staff', once they complete their program. It is a highly prized opportunity. Generally they will then spend several years traveling from country to country, every couple of months. It's hard work but can set them up for a senior role once they've completed their tour of duty .
Tell me how GE Volunteers work? Does the company actually allow employees to use company time to volunteer?
GE Volunteers is a global initiative that is run locally in each country. Employees can participate in events during work time, and their hours are logged on a 'Volunteer's Portal'. We have key partnerships with Fareshare, OzHarvest, Ardoch and the Women's Cancer Foundation, amongst others. Graduates are encouraged to participate and lead volunteer events during their program to develop their leadership skills.
I understand GE will be taking part in an Expo in Melbourne during March. Are you open to grads and uni students dropping by for a chat?
We will be a major sponsor at the 2010 Engineering Expo, to be held at Etihad Stadium on 25th March. I will be there along with a group of GE folk including local engineers, recruiters and leaders (both local and international). We'd love people to stop by and see us!