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By Chris Opfer
The North American arm of French materials manufacturer Saint-Gobain Corp. plans to hire 5,500 workers over the next three years, CEO Thomas Kinisky told Bloomberg Law in a recent video interview.
“Part of it’s growth, but we have an acute issue which is that 50 percent of our manufacturing force—our employees across North America—are retirement eligible in the next 10 years,” Kinisky said.
The $46 billion company’s hiring spree comes at a unique time for the manufacturing industry, where automation and other technological advances have transformed factory floors. Kinisky said Saint-Gobain wants workers with some tech know-how, but also the soft skills that can help them learn and adapt on the job.
“We’re focused on the attributes of the people—their flexibility, their agility, their problem-solving, their thinking skills—because we actually think that’s going to be more important than the technical skills they may come with,” Kinisky said.
The video is at https://www.bna.com/french-manufacturer-big-m73014472110.
Saint-Gobain operates some 130 factories across the U.S. The company produces glass, insulation, and other building materials.
For employees already on the job, Kinisky said preparing for jobs of the future starts with a simple request. “I think one of the most important things you have do is actually ask people to change,” he said. “When you do that you engage them at a different level and you engage them in a way, both from a training standpoint but also just to open their minds up to what their jobs could be.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
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