What it does: Makes cables
Staff stats: 21,000
The good bits: Overseas postings
The not so good bits: Being thrown in the deep end
The Prysmian Group story
Prysmian Group was created in 2011 through the merger of two major players in the cable industry: Prysmian and Draka.
Prysmian had emerged from the cables and systems division of Italian tyre-maker Pirelli. Draka was founded in 1910 by Dutchman Jan Duyvis. Throughout the 20th century, it made electrical cables for the car, energy, infrastructure and telecommunication industries. It was acquired by Philips in 1970 and absorbed into its Wire and Cable Division before being split off in 1986.
The marriage of Prysmian and Draka created the world’s largest cable maker. Headquartered in Milan, Prysmian Group has 91 production plants, 17 R&D centres and a presence in 50 countries. In 2016, it had revenues of €7,560 million ($11,730 million).
Among other products, the company manufactures: cables and accessories for voice, video and data transmission; underground and submarine power transmission cables and systems; a wide range of cables for the construction and infrastructure industries and custom-made cables for applications in many different industrial sectors.
Unsurprisingly for a company arising from the union of an Italian and a Dutch business and staff spread across the globe, Prysmian Group is enthusiastic about diversity. It “believes in its multicultural working environment, reflecting the diversities of each country while developing a shared common identity”.
The company is “committed to ensuring equal opportunities [and] avoiding any form of unfair or unlawful discrimination in employment”. Furthermore, it “embraces all the differences of employees’ age, gender, marital status, race or ethnicity, nationality, religion or other belief, sexual orientation, social and educational background, family and care responsibilities and any other form of diversity”.
Around 15 per cent of the company’s workforce is female, though that figure doubles to 30 per cent when only white-collar roles are counted. The company has a project called ‘Side by Side’. This project “aims at increasing women’s participation at all organisation levels, creating a gender-inclusive culture, cultivating diverse leadership and talent, as well as promoting diversity and meritocracy within the company.”
Prysmian Group aims to “promote ethical behaviour, protect labour rights and diversity [as well as] develop a healthy working environment, education and professional development for workers”.
The company’s corporate citizenship initiatives focus on assisting communities, particularly disadvantaged ones, get access to the energy and telecommunications facilities that are necessary for economic and social development. The company both partners with community-based organisations and makes cash donations to do this.
Prysmian Group has donated technical support and materials to help build a hydro-electrical plant in Tanzania; funded youth centres and academic scholarships in Italy; provided assistance to earthquake victims in Nepal and partnered with Save the Children to improve infant life expectancy in Ethiopia.
The recruitment process
Prysmian Group recruits those looking to pursue a business management or technical career. To be eligible for the company’s grad program, you’ll need a degree in business administration, economics, finance, chemistry, engineering, mathematics or physics. You’ll also need: an impressive academic record preferably involving some time studying overseas; to be able to speak fluent English and, ideally, a second language, and to have strong communication and interpersonal skills.
If you meet all the above criteria, you’ll be invited to do an online assessment. If that goes well, you’ll be asked to record a short video presentation and attend a group assessment day. The assessment day is designed to test your skills, aptitude and leadership qualities and involves a group exercise and face-to-face interview. The final stage is a panel interview with several of the company’s managers.
If you make it into the grad program, you’ll be sent to Prysmian Group’s Milan HQ for a two-week induction. You’ll then return to Australia to spend nine months rotating through the R&D, Operations and Sales departments and a further three months ‘warming up’ for your first overseas posting. You’ll then spend two years completing an ‘international assignment’. Then you come back to Australia and spend another two years in a technical or junior managerial position.
Prysmian Group prides itself on offering grads a “highly competitive salary”. Staff are “rewarded based on their performance and leadership skills”. Prysmian Group seeks to “reward [employees] through innovative and sustainable compensation programs fostering internal pay equity and external competitiveness”. The company has an employee stock ownership plan. Staff may also have access to subsidised insurance, a company car or transportation allowance and meal vouchers or a staff canteen.
Since 2012, the company has used the Prysmian People Performance Potential (P4) performance-appraisal system. This requires staff members, in consultation with their managers, to develop clear objectives. They then receive constant feedback about the results they are achieving with reference to these objectives. Staff members’ career paths are largely determined by their P4 results.
The Prysmian Group Academy facilitates staff improving their “leadership skills and technical capacities”. The Academy’s School of Management identifies and develops strong performers to build the company’s management pipeline. The Academy’s Professional School aims to transfer, develop and consolidate technical skills.
The vibe of the place
Prysmian Group workplaces are a mini United Nations. Teamwork is encouraged, events such as birthdays are celebrated and younger members of staff will often get together for drinks after work.
Star Rating: 3.8 stars
From the Employer:
"Prysmian Group is world leader in the energy and telecom cables and systems industry. With almost 140 years of experience, sales of about € 7.5 billion in 2015, over 19,000 people across 50 countries and 88 plants, the Group is strongly positioned in high-tech markets and provides the widest range of products, services, technologies and know-how.
In the Energy sector, Prysmian Group operates in the business of underground and submarine power transmission cables and systems, special cables for applications in many different industrial sectors and medium and low-voltage cables for the construction and infrastructure industry.
In the Telecom sector, the Group manufactures cables and accessories for the voice, video and data transmission industry, offering a complete range of optical fibres, optical and copper cables and connectivity systems.
The Group was created through the union of Prysmian and Draka, already leaders in their markets for innovation and technological know-how. We are combining the strengths of both and achieving increased investment potential and geographical coverage, as well as offering the most extensive range of products, services, technologies and know-how available on the market.
Prysmian Group is also characterised by being a public company, a listed company without a controlling shareholder, managed on a transparent basis and leveraging its ability to gain and maintain the continued confidence of its investors.
As of December 2015, the Group employed 19,316 people, comprising 4,899 white-collar staff and 14,417 blue-collar workers.
63% of personnel were located in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), including 18% in Italy.
North America and South America employ respectively 13% and 9% of personnel, while APAC (Australia, Asia and China) account for 15%.
About 15% of employees in 2015 were women. In detail, 9.5% of blue-collar staff are women, while this quota is almost 30% in the white-collar category.
Manufacturing, Production and Selling of Cables and Systems for Energy and Data Transmission, Energy, Telecommunications."