What it does: Engineering, energy, healthcare, financial services, transport…
Staff stats: Over 300,000 employees in 175 countries
The good bits: Working for one of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates
The not so good bits: Bureaucracy, convoluted work processes
As far as origin stories go, it’s hard to beat GE’s. It came about through two pioneers in the development of electricity joining forces. In 1892, Thomas Edison, famous inventor and owner of Edison General Electric Company, partnered with Gerald Waldo Hart, owner of the American Electrical Company, to form General Electric.
Four years, later GE was one of the original 12 companies listed on the newly created Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company subsequently diversified enthusiastically, getting into radio, television, power generation and computing. GE has long had a presence in Australia. In 1896, for example, it provided motors and other equipment for the Brisbane Tramway Company.
Under the visionary leadership of CEO Jack Welch between 1981 – 2001, GE grew exponentially, followed by Jeff Immelt who has been CEO since 2001. Describing what GE does now is no simple matter. To briefly summarise, it now has a collection of subsidiaries involved in the provision of aircraft engines, appliances, electricity, electrical motors, energy, finance, gas, health care, lighting, locomotives, oil, software, water, weapons and wind turbines. It describes itself as “the world’s Digital Industrial company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive”. In 2016, GE had total assets worth US$365 billion and revenues of US$124 billion.
GE operates in almost every nation in the world. So, it’s no surprise it sees diversity and inclusiveness “as an essential part of our productivity, creativity, innovation and competitive advantage”.
GE aims to ensure “our workforce is as diverse as the communities in which we operate, while always upholding the importance of merit”. It attempts to create “an inclusive culture that recognises employees’ unique needs, helps them reach their full potential and nurtures their diverse talents.” Staff can join ‘affinity networks’ such as the GE Women’s Network.
GE encourages its staff to volunteer in Australia, as it does around the world. Each year GE Australia staff collectively spend tens of thousands of hours contributing to their communities during work time. GE Australia staff have been involved in fundraising for cancer charities, mentoring disadvantaged school students and planting trees. GE also has an ‘ecoimagination initiative’ that staff can participate in which seeks to create technologies that are both environmentally friendly and commercially feasible.
The recruitment process
In Australia, GE allows grads to apply for its Graduate Engineering Training Program, Financial Management Program, Digital Technology Leadership Program and Commercial Leadership Program. You can find out more about the individual programs on the website. For all of them you’ll need a relevant degree with a credit average or above.
All the programs last two years and involve rotating through different areas of the business. The programs start in January and July each year and usually require being based in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth or Sydney.
After researching the options, you apply online by uploading a CV and cover letter as well as answering some questions. If your application proceeds, you’ll then do a video interview. This is followed by some tests to gauge your problem-solving and critical-reasoning abilities. After that, you invited to attend a GE Assessment Centre. Here you will meet some individuals undertaking the grad program, HR professionals and senior staff. You’ll also be expected to take part in both an individual and group exercise. Finally, you’ll do a behavioural-based interview with a senior leader and undergo background checks. If you get through all that, you will receive an offer.
Jack Welch made the best part of a billion dollars while employed at GE; his severance pay alone was US$417 million. You’ll need to wait a while to be pulling down that kind of money but you’ll receive a competitive salary. You’ll also have your costs covered if you relocate interstate or internationally and receive discounts on items such as movie tickets. There’s also the satisfaction that comes with making the world a better place by helping drive innovations in anything from medical devices to wind energy technology.
While in the grad program you’ll have access to a buddy and mentoring. You’ll be given ongoing feedback and periodic formal appraisals. If you’re interested in doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to job shadow and pitch your ideas to senior staff. Given GE has 40,000 staff in the Asia-Pacific area alone, there are plenty of opportunities to advance if you’re the ambitious type.
The vibe of the place
GE has a flat structure and agile workplace. Senior staff are approachable and teams often include a cross section of people from the bottom of the top of org charts. You’ll be expected to dress and act professionally but the workplace atmosphere is friendly and egalitarian.
Star Rating: 4.6 stars
From the Employer:
"GE + You
What can you expect as a graduate at GE?
Enter a historic global company that employs more than 300 000 people across 175 countries. We currently operate eight businesses within Australia and New Zealand, some of which include GE Healthcare, GE Digital, GE Aviation, and GE Power.
We are passionate about combating tough new challenges through creativity, collaboration and innovative technologies.
Whether you are key to the financial planning and analysis of a business, managing a $70 million portfolio on your own, or project managing the development and deployment of a game-changing app, your work will contribute to what matters and have real business impact.
These experiences will form a strong base for your career.
Our graduate programs are designed to develop exceptional students into business leaders. We invest heavily in the personal and professional development of our graduates, offering you inter-state and international rotations, as well as opportunities to participate in engaging seminars and training.
We foster a positive social environment that recognises the importance of celebrating diversity. You can become a proud member of our various affinity groups – including the GE Women’s Network, GLBTA Alliance, GE Volunteers, and HealthAhead – and we encourage all to leverage our global graduate network during international conferences.
Pitching your ideas to senior leaders, being a part of our highly rewarding mentorship program, and receiving regular constructive insight into your development are just a few of the additional opportunities available to you at GE."