Gender diversity has many advantages including improved decision making, the spread of innovation and increased collaboration, as well as increased talent pool and decreased employee turnover. While women today make up 47 percent of the labor force, they only occupy 27 percent of manufacturing roles and 14 percent of senior leadership roles. With this in mind, there are many global and site based initiatives in place to ensure that Jabil not only finds and attracts diverse talent, but also retains it within the organization.
“Human Resources teams around Jabil’s global community are making a conscious effort to collaboratively engage with local schools, colleges and universities and provide employment opportunities for students. Events such as manufacturing days, sporting events and fundraisers take place to communicate the values of Jabil, not only to current employees but potential ones also,” says Robin Forster, Jabil’s Human Resources Director for EMS in Europe. Although these initiatives to secure a diverse talent pipeline vary at local level, our sites have the common goal in mind: to secure and attract more women to take on technical and business positions at Jabil.
An Exciting Industry for Women
“I believe manufacturing is an exciting industry for women,” said Robin, who has more that 20 years of HR experience, having worked with US and UK manufacturing companies. “The very fact that Jabil is designing, producing and innovating products for global brands that change the way we live and work is fascinating,” says Robin. “These innovations are exciting and make me very proud to work for a company that is developing products that make real differences and improvement to the daily lives of people.” Over his career with Jabil, Robin has witnessed vast changes within the manufacturing industry. He strongly believes that companies who cannot continuously evolve, cannot survive. The main point is that, “change is the norm.” Employees will increasingly be required to undergo career changes and for that they will need to be flexibility and adaptable. This is why it is important for employees to adapt and learn new skills throughout their careers in order to cope with the demands of change.
“What is critically important to Jabil today is developing our employees’ leadership skills: being empathetic, sympathetic, firm and decisive. It is about developing these skills to motivate, lead and inspire our workforce,” believes Robin.
Securing Diverse Talent
Robin chose Human Resources for his career path as he believes that “people are the most important asset to any organization” and he likes working with people. His daily work fascinates him because he has recruited a lot of new people into the organization throughout his time with Jabil and watched them grow and develop into even senior leadership positions. This gives Robin personal satisfaction.
One of the most important things to Jabil and to Robin is securing a diverse talent pipeline. Having a talent pipeline that is diverse is also vital in ensuring that it can develop the best leaders. “In order for any company to grow, you need to attract and retain the best possible people out there,” says Robin. “Jabil is making great progress in enabling greater opportunities for women and students through initiatives such as Jabil Joules,” says Robin. “The company provides a variety of roles and career opportunities for women and leadership is strongly committed to this.
Advice From Robin
One of the main pieces of advice that Robin has for employees at all levels is to “know your weaknesses, because the ones you are unaware of can hurt you the most. But once you know them you can get support to overcome them.” For younger people, Robin advises them to “invest in your future, as everything you do should be for your future. Do what you are passionate about and not what others think you should do.”
Robin Forster is Jabil’s Director of Human Resources, Europe EMS. Robin joined Jabil in 2000 as HR Manager for the Livingston, Scotland site. In 2002, Robin moved into the Operations Development team to support European acquisitions and subsequently became the European HR Director. Robin has more that 20 years of HR experience, having worked with US and UK manufacturing companies and has a Law degree from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.