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Human resources are an organization’s backbone and the most important thing within all companies: Human. Being a human resources manager is far more than filling an administrative task. Let’s discuss this with a specialist and their day to day involvement in a highly technical company.
(Published on January-February 2009 – JEC Magazine #46)
AN INTERVIEW WITH DR WOLFRAM SAUER, DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES OF PREMIUM AEROTEC GMBH
JEC Composites Magazine: What skills should a personnel manager have?
WOLFRAM SAUER: In addition to a good knowledge of employment market policies and what are known as “soft skills”, such as discretion, empathy and communication skills, personnel managers should have excellent knowledge of personnel matters. This includes, among other things, knowledge of employment, social, constitutional and wage law. “People management skills” – i.e. the ability to manage and motivate people – should not be underestimated. Good negotiating skills, motivation, and the ability to establish good relationships with colleagues, managers and employee representatives are also crucial prerequisites for a successful personnel manager.
JCM: What is the greatest challenge for you as the personnel manager of Europe’s leading aerostructure supplier?
W. S.: As a personnel manager, you are constantly confronted with the fears, feelings and hopes of applicants and employees. Anyone accepting this kind of job should be aware of this enormous responsibility. Max Frisch once said: “We wanted workers and we got people instead.”
JCM: What impact will the retiring babyboomers have on tomorrow’s employment market?
W. S.: Many experts and decision-makers will be retiring over the next few years. This means that companies will have to rely more on older generations so that valuable knowledge does not get lost. On the other hand, they should also remain focused on promoting new talent: because of increasing levels of specialisation, the economy will have to accept that there will be fewer “ready-made” experts in the market. These workers will have to be built up by means of appropriate training and professional development programmes. If you want to have qualified employees in a few years time, you need to start training them now. The battle for talent has already begun.
JCM: In your opinion, what makes a perfect employee?
W. S.: In addition to having excellent professional qualifications, the perfect employee should be able to think outside the box and have real inner dynamism. He or she should have the urge to discover and conquer the company, as well as being open to colleagues, foreign cultures and everything new.
JCM: Why should a job applicant be interested in working for your company in particular?
W. S.: Premium Aerotec GmbH is an attractive employer! We are in the process of creating one of the largest aerostructure suppliers in the world. Appropriate A350XWB employment packages also give our employees the opportunity not only to introduce changing technologies in aircraft construction, from metal to carbon fibre structures, but also to play an active role in shaping them. Aviation is also an innovative growth industry. Our order books are full for the next five years.
The company employs over 6,000 people. The annual turnover for 2009 should be more than €1 billion.
The core business of Premium Aerotec GmbH is structures and production systems for aircraft components and their development. The company is aiming to become the leading tier 1 supplier for civil and military aircraft structures over the next few years. Even in its starting phase, the company takes on a top position in its industry.
Biography of Dr Wolfram Sauer
Dr Wolfram Sauer studied law at the Universities of Mannheim and Heidelberg, Germany. He later graduated as a solicitor and specialist employment lawyer in Koblenz.
He first worked as an expert in employment and social law & wage policies at the Südwestmetall employer’s association. He then became head of employment and social law at Daimler Benz Aerospace’s Defence department. In 2001, he joined the Systems & Defence Electronics (S&DE) business unit of EADS (MCH-Unterschleißheim head office) as head of the HR policy for Germany. In 2004, he was appointed head of HR policy & controlling at the Defence Electronics business unit of EADS (Ulm head office), and site personnel manager in EADS Defence & Security (DS) Ulm. In 2005, he moved into his current position as head of shared service HR policy & industrial relations at the DS division in MCH-Unterschleißheim.
Since the 1st of January 2009, Dr Wolfram Sauer is the director of Human resources of Premium Aerotec GmbH.