scientific and specialty consulting as well as all aspects of engineering, construction, operations and maintenance. In his role as GVP of Mainland Europe, within Jacobs Mr. Matha is responsible for JESA, the 50/50 joint venture between Jacobs and l’OCP that is expanding the mining and production operations of Morocco’s phosphate reserves and working to build a leading full-service engineering operation in this part of the world.
In your experience, what value is there to hire employees who know both the company’s way of thinking and the country’s unique culture?
It is very important that employees understand both cultures: their company and that of the country they’re working in. Having a global mindset is key to understanding Jacobs’ way of thinking. We are a large Company with over 60,000 employees in more than 25 countries, but we all share a commitment to the same core values. So our employees are unified in their focus on superior value, safety, and ethical business practices; regardless of the country.
What is the profile of successful employees in a multicultural work setting?
Successful employees build networks, break down boundaries, and embrace diversity. They collaborate and learn new skills from one another. Of course, in multicultural work environments, cultural sensitivity and respectful communication are crucial. We recognize that an inclusive environment is a healthy one that results in better decisions, better talent, and more creative solutions to offer our clients. We seek employees that operate with a boundary-less mindset.
What value do you put on multicultural skills as compared to job skills?
To have one without the other is lacking. The people we employ have the technical skills necessary to deliver superior quality and value to our clients. But our successful employees also have the ability to communicate across language barriers, recognize different cultural norms, show respect for beliefs that may be very different from their own, and display an interest in new ideas.
With the “war for talent,” how do you compete and hire the best employees for your multicultural teams/work environments?
We take a multi-domestic approach that allows us to augment the best expertise and technology Jacobs has to offer with the brightest local talent. For example, when Jacobs formed JESA with l’OCP, we hired close to 400 people from the local market and 100 more from other countries, plus attracted 50 new employees from OCP. Then, in June of this year we announced our acquisition of Team Maroc, a Moroccan engineering management and consultancy firm headquartered in Rabat. With the acquisition of Team Maroc, JESA increased its workforce by an additional 171 local people whose business culture is compatible with our own; plus we’ve broadened our local capabilities, particularly our presence in Morocco’s infrastructure business. Strategic acquisitions like this one are an integral part of our growth as a Company, and an effective way for us to engage and hire large numbers of people globally.
Robert Matha is Group Vice President of Jacobs Engineering Group, one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional and construction services. With 2011 revenues of over $10 billion, Jacobs offers full-spectrum support to industrial, commercial and government clients across multiple markets. Services include
An interview with Robert Matha
Vice President of Jacobs Engineering Group
Executive Education Center - Al Akhawayn University