What it does: Energy management and automation
Staff stats: 160,000 globally
The good bits: Working for an industry-leading, global company
The not so good bits: Dealing with big-organisation bureaucracy
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Finance, Accounting, Economics & Business Administration.
The roots of Schneider Electric can be traced back to 1836. That’s when two go-getting French brothers – Adolphe and Joseph-Eugene Schneider – took over an abandoned foundry and bought some mines in Le Creusot, France. Within a couple of years, the siblings had launched a company that would soon be producing heavy machinery and transportation equipment. That company subsequently entered the emerging electricity market, then the construction industry. By the turn of the 20th century, Schneider Group was a substantial, diversified conglomerate.
Two world wars in quick succession were a mixed blessing and in 1949 Charles Schneider restructured the business. In 1975, Schneider Group acquired an interest in Merlin Gerin, an industry-leading French company known for producing cutting-edge electrical distribution gear. From the 1980s onwards, the company both divested itself of its steel and shipbuilding assets and grew the electrical side of its business, chiefly through strategic acquisitions. These acquisitions included the purchase of iconic Australian (electrical accessories) company Clipsal in 2004. Having rebranded as Schneider Electric in 1999, the company has spent the last couples of decades pursuing growth opportunities in areas such as building automation and security, energy management and smart grid applications.
Headquartered in Grenoble, France, Schneider Electric is now a Fortune 500 company. One that is traded on the Euronext Exchange. It has a presence in around 100 countries and 20,000 patents either active or pending. In 2016, it had revenue of just under €25 billion (A$40 billion).
Schneider Electric regards diversity as “a key element” of its competitive edge and something that “inspires our creativity and openness while benefiting our performance”.
The company seeks to mirror the diversity of the communities in which it operates. It promotes “respect for others’ unique values by providing an appropriate environment and resources, such as support communities and diversity-awareness training”. Furthermore, diversity is “an integral aspect of our management style, our targets and human resources processes”.
Schneider Electric has been particularly enthusiastic about championing gender equality. One industry-leading initiative it has introduced to make life more manageable for female staff is a ‘Global Family Leave Policy’. This allows staff (male and female) to take time off during “key life stages”. Such as “welcoming a new baby, taking care of sick or elderly family members, and mourning the loss of a family member”.
Schneider Electric sees itself on the front lines in the battle against climate change. It seeks to lessen the consumption of energy by creating products that help individuals and businesses achieve “better operational efficiency”.
In developing nations, the company is proud to be playing a role in bringing power to the 1.1 billion people in the world who don’t currently have access to reliable energy.
The Schneider Electric Foundation has an annual budget of around €4 million (A$6.5 million). It contributes to “the development of people and societies through education, innovation, awareness-raising and vocational training related to energy”. It has a presence in 75 countries. It has been involved in everything from supplying solar energy to Nigerian families, to providing electrician training in India, to running Women’s entrepreneurship programs in Brazil.
While Schneider Electric doesn’t specify what personality traits it likes staff to have, grads will be expected to fit well into the corporate culture. This culture is “one where ideas are valued… [and which is] down to earth, practical, collaborative, and passionate about the global energy challenge”. Accordingly, applicants should be enthusiastic (especially about delivering excellent customer service). They should also be willing to “think outside the box”, straightforward in their communication style and up for a challenge.
If you’re planning on a career at Schneider Electric and in the second-last year of your degree, you’d be well-advised to apply for an internship. These are either completed full-time over the summer break or part-time over a period of 3-6 months. Interns are given the opportunity to “work on business-relevant projects, develop your skillset and gain industry experience”.
Like any large company, Schneider needs staff with a diverse range of skill sets and internships are available to “all undergraduates Australia-wide, who have permanent residency”. That noted you’ll be best placed to receive an offer if you have a background in one of the following disciplines:
While those who’ve completed an internship have pole position, it appears that you can still apply for the two-year-long grad program without having done any work experience at the company. The company doesn’t reveal how its recruitment process unfolds. Nonetheless, those who’ve experienced it report it involves an online application, phone interview, online testing, assessment centre visit and final interview.
The grad program involves three rotations. It “provides opportunities for young professionals to explore a broad range of roles and businesses within Schneider Electric”. Grads have a “structured learning pathway”, “gain valuable work experience and develop specialised industry skills” and “interact with Schneider Electric employees across Australia and worldwide”. Grads are also assigned mentors who guide their development.
If you want a pay rise, you’ll need to demonstrate “sustained performance” based on “agreed goals and commended behaviours”. If you’re an above-average performer you can expect “differentiated levels of reward, recognition and opportunities”.
Grad salaries appear to be at or above the industry average. Employees have access to discounts on banking and insurance products, cars, clothes, electrical products and hotels. Staff also have access to a share-ownership scheme (four per cent of Schneider Electric’s shares are now employee-owned).
By the end of the grad program, you’ll have a deep understanding of Schneider Electric’s local and global operations, as well as a solid grounding in the company’s vision, values and culture. You can then expect the company to “provide the tools to aid your development”. All staff are encouraged to engage in professional development activities and provided with everything from learning opportunities to leadership coaching.
Schneider Electric is big on what it terms “Meaningful purpose”. The company’s meaningful purpose is to provide “reliable and safe energy to the planet”. It seeks out staff who are inspired by that mission and who want to take on “challenging roles [that involve] continual skill development [in a] high-performance culture”.
While the company expects a lot of its staff, it also looks after them well and has won countless ‘Best Employer’ awards all across the globe.
Star Rating: 3.6 stars
At Schneider, we believe access to energy and digital is a basic human right. We empower all to make the most of their energy and resources, ensuring Life Is On everywhere, for everyone, at every moment. We provide energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. We combine world-leading energy technologies, real-time automation, software and services into integrated solutions for Homes, Buildings, Data Centres, Infrastructure and Industries. We are committed to unleashing the infinite possibilities of an open, global, innovative community that is passionate about our Meaningful Purpose, Inclusive and Empowered values.
We are looking for graduates who can bring new ideas, a different way of thinking and who can challenge the way we do things. Progress throughout programs by taking advantage of all the opportunities provided. If you’re interested in evolving as a professional and this sounds like you, we’re keeping a seat warm for you. We’re a dynamic, inclusive, global company looking for passionate people to help us innovate at every level. Every day, we empower employees to achieve more and experience exciting, meaningful careers. If you are interested in joining an international, dynamic, and responsible company that emphasizes the development of all its people around the world, then what are you waiting for?
Working at Schneider, we promise you this:
You will find your work meaningful. We empower everyone to make the most of their energy and resources, ensuring Life Is On everywhere, for everyone, at every moment. We pioneer digitization and transformation of energy and processes, turning the bold ideas of customers into reality. Always with a sense of purpose and highest standards.
You will be in an inclusive environment. We believe in equal opportunities for everyone, everywhere, so that every person feels uniquely valued and safe. Here, you will be in the company of people from all walks of life, because differences move us forward.
You will be empowered. Freedom breeds innovation. We ensure that you have what you need for high performance, personal fulfilment and fun.