AVEVA – which develops engineering, design and information management software for the process plant, power and marine industries – is on course for growth, as it prepares to complete its merger in the next few months with the software group of Schneider Electric.
Clare Bye, HR Director (pictured) says: "AVEVA employs some 1700 people in more than 40 different countries but our headquarters is in Cambridge. When the merger completes we are committed to keeping our head office here, and we will retain the AVEVA brand."
She says the organisation is actively recruiting, mainly software developers for its R&D activities, but it is also looking to increase the number of apprentices it takes on. "We have been recognised for our commitment to early career progression, as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer by the Sunday Telegraph, and we have had some real success with our apprenticeship scheme. We are hoping to double the number of people we take on as apprentices and graduates in the next couple of years."
She stresses that attrition is very low in Cambridge and many AVEVA employees have stayed with the company for many years. "It isn't like working for the same company because AVEVA has changed constantly," she explains. "People can move around and they are given great career development opportunities.
"It's a cliché that it is a people business, but that really does apply to AVEVA. We seek talented, energetic people who will go the extra mile and we are lucky to have such people."
However, she admits, the organisation does face challenges. One of these is language: AVEVA is an English speaking company, but its business, its workforce and its customers are international – as evidenced at its recent annual World Summit conference, held in Cambridge for the first time, which featured simultaneous translation facilities for Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean delegates. "When it comes to recruitment, there is a need for us to have some flexibility," says Clare.
The other major challenge is gender diversity."Currently females hold only 20% of technical roles, and in the past couple of years we have been working with the Board to improve the balance. We recognise that it is healthy to have diversity throughout the organisation and we're involved in WISE, which campaigns for more girls and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers."
AVEVA is not only sponsoring this year's WISE Apprenticeship Programme Award, but is itself a finalist for the 2017 WISE Employer of the Year Award.
"Our vision is to increase the number of women, aiming to reach 30% female by 2020," she says. "That is ambitious and we know we have to work hard to get close to that. We share the challenges that many technical companies do to attract female talent, particularly in technical roles, but we're on a journey.
"Why would people choose AVEVA over another company? What we do is world class and we are at the leading edge of technology, which makes us attractive. When we combine with Schneider we will be the largest industrial engineering software company in the world.
"We are 50 years old – having started life as a University of Cambridge spin-out in 1967 – and we retain the traditional values of integrity, honesty and respect.
"Authenticity is important and we believe you can feel that when you come in – we want everyone to feel a part of it. We no longer do lengthy employee engagement surveys; instead we regularly do quick email polls to gain feedback. We take the time to properly listen, which gives us real evidence so we can address concerns, make decisions and then tell people what we are going to do."