Do #ilooklikeanengineer? The biggest names inspiring female engineers today

Sandra Olivier - Friday, August 28, 2015

hand with mechanical wheelsIt’s an exciting time for school girls to be interested in engineering careers, as there is currently a huge spotlight on this field as a career choice for women. While the career stats for women currently occupying roles in the engineering industry are very low (one in 20 – just 5.7%), this does open up huge potential for improvement, and a massive global campaign is underway to promote engineering careers as appealing to women – just Google the hashtag, “#ilooklikeanengineer”.

The idea that engineering is a man’s job is perpetuated by the patriarchal society we still live in today, however, with the help of organisations like WISE (promoting women in roles in science, technology and maths) and the Fawcett Society (promoting gender equality) in the UK, the focus is slowly changing. In South Africa and Africa, organisations like Women in Engineering (WomEng) have helped “to develop the next generation of engineering leaders in society” by “developing strong female engineering talent pipelines”.

Some of the most recognised women in the field of engineering include:

IBM’s CEO and Chairwoman – Ginni Rometty
With an early career start as a systems engineer at IBM, having graduated with in computer science and electrical engineering, Ginni Rometty may have a huge hand in the sales and marketing divisions of IBM, but her main focus is how technology influences lives. IBM is currently involved in a massive AI programme – “IBM Watson” – that Rometty says “will radically change healthcare”.

AMD’s CEO – Lisa Su
With a PhD in electrical engineering as well as being a fellow at the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers, Lisa Su has been praised for her work on semiconductor and chip making. She spent 13 years at IBM before joining AMD as Senior Vice President and General Manager in 2012. In just two years, she rose up the ranks to COO and then CEO.

VMWare Co-founder and Tech Entrepreneur – Diane Greene
With her legacy as “one of the smartest female tech founders ever”, Diane Greene has many accolades to her name. Not only did she co-found VMWare and sit as its CEO, but she has also invested in, advised, and been responsible for the successes of many tech start-ups. Since 2012, Diane Greene has sat on the Google Board of Directors, and she is currently working on a stealth start-up which, appropriately, no one on the outside knows much about.

Google’s VP of Engineering and Product Management – Jen Fitzpatrick
Jen Fitzpatrick recently took over the reins of Google Maps – this after having worked on a wide variety of Google’s products like AdWords, News, and on a large portion of Search in the long 16 years that she has worked at the search giant.

Apple’s VP of Hardware Engineering at Apple – Kate Bergeron
Not only has Kate Bergeron harnessed her skills as a mechanical engineer to work on Apple’s manufacturing process, but she has moved into design of mobile products and has also joined the prestigious Mac design team.  At present, Bergeron is responsible for the building of new Apple products; but she also extends her engineering influence to include teaching at D-Lab at MIT, which involves the design of solutions to lift people out of poverty.

Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Research – Jeanette Wing
Having worked at the National Science Foundation and teaching Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Jeannette Wing is now responsible for running Microsoft’s research laboratories, which run on an annual research and development budget of $10 billion.

NASA’s8 Program Manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center – Aprille Ericsson
Engineering careers extend far beyond IT engineering, and Aprille Ericsson is a highly celebrated aerospace engineer, starting as a systems engineer at NASA in 1989. Heralded as the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Ericsson is also working hard to get business and NASA to partner in the development of new technology.

If you are looking for a new career opportunity in the engineering industry, no matter if you are male or female, we can assist. Communicate Personnel is an Engineering recruitment company with consultants that specialize in civil engineering, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering. Check out our vacancy page and apply today. 


Changes In The Internal Auditing Function

Mallisa Watson - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

folder The role of internal auditing has evolved significantly over the last years. Internal auditing has expanded to include services that add value not only to the internal control processes, but also embrace control and risk management, in ongoing efforts to meet the needs of various stakeholders.

Despite all of the above, internal auditors in the South African public sector may be falling short, failing to fully meet the expectations of their stakeholders. This is according to a recent survey conducted by the National Treasury and other finance partners. There have been a number of changes within the public internal auditing function in the public sector, below are just two of the important areas.

Risk focus
As companies adapt to the rapid change in the global economy, the risks they face are often unknown and unfamiliar and this potential impact on the business’s future is extensive. Therefore, internal audit functions needs to adapt to the changing risk landscape.

Forward-thinking internal audit functions are providing input on what to consider as the business assess a certain path for example, entering into a new market. At other times, internal audit identifies potential risks as the process is under way, such as cost reduction. It’s therefore important that the Chief Audit Executives (CAE) are involved at the optimal time to provide advice.

The overview of the current situation regarding internal audit staffing, seems to indicate that the public sector have an insufficient number and quality of employees to empower the internal auditing function to provide the level of service expected by their stakeholders.

Research shows that this could be attributed to the fact that CAEs are not adequately qualified (academically and professionally), that too many vacancies exist, that staff turnover rates are too high and that the level of internal audit is too low for the demands of the job.

The talent gap and lack of business expertise are increasing. There is a poor perception of internal audit’s relevance and value in the public sector. As the public sector looks to the future, internal audit functions need to acquire diverse skill sets to address the most critical risks facing their industry. According to PwC’s report, organisations are turning to third parties to close the talent gap.

The way forward
An organisation’s commitment to effective internal control should be reflected directly in the importance it attaches to its internal audit function. The internal audit charter, approved by the board or audit committee, should clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of internal audit with respect to fraud risks. This will require fraud investigation teams to obtain sufficient knowledge of fraudulent schemes, investigation techniques, and applicable laws.

It is very important that the internal audit functions are sufficiently funded, staffed, and trained, with appropriate specialised skills. This would depend on the nature, size, and complexity of the operating environment of an organisation.

The success of any internal auditor lies with that person’s commitment to constantly develop and improve, along with his or her deep understanding of the organization’s needs and how they can be met through the internal audit function. At no time is this truer than in today’s business environment.

If you consider yourself to be one of South Africa’s top Internal Auditors and currently in the market for finance jobs, be sure to visit our vacancies pages to apply!

Need top calibre candidates to grow your organization? We source the very best. Contact us today.

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Three of the Most Influential Women in IT

Sandra Olivier - Friday, August 21, 2015

executive women According to the advocacy organisation Women in Tech, only 23% of tech jobs in SA are held by women. Globally, women occupy 26% of computing occupations. While these statistics are poor, it shouldn’t discourage young female school-goers, school-leavers and university graduates from entering the IT industry.

Three of the most popular women in IT hold top positions at three of the world’s most popular technology companies: Google, Facebook and Yahoo!. We profile them here:

Marissa Mayer: President and CEO of Yahoo!
Early in her studies, Marissa Mayer had wanted to become a paediatric neurosurgeon, but she changed her major to focus on symbolic systems, which includes the study of artificial intelligence, cognitive sciences and interaction between humans and computers. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (and later a Master of Science) in Computer Science, and in her post-graduate work, contributed heavily to the field of search. It came as no surprise that after graduating, she received 14 job offers! Mayer signed on to Google in 1999 – its 20th employee – and became Google’s first female engineer, also responsible for many of the company’s search offerings that has made it such a successful engine.

Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo! in July 2012 as president and CEO, and implemented changes to the company’s culture programmes, personnel policy on telecommuting (for which she was heavily criticised) and also extended maternity leave and pay. In the year following Mayer’s appointment, Yahoo!’s stock price doubled – this in spite of sharp criticism from outsiders of her management style. She is, however, very active in the industry and sits on various boards – both company and non-profit – and has achieved multiple awards and honours for her position and influence.

Sheryl Sandberg: COO of Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg has strove for achievement from a young age – having been top of her class in school, class president in her sophomore year, a member of the National Honour Society, and graduating summa cum laude at Harvard with a BA in Economics. In 1995, Sandberg received her MBA with highest distinction. Following graduation, Sandberg worked at McKinsey, then served as Chief of Staff for the US Secretary of Treasury. Sheryl Sandberg moved into technology when she joined Google in 2001 as its Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations.

In 2007, Sandberg was considering moving to The Washington Post as senior executive, but met Mark Zuckerberg at a Christmas party, and in early 2008, she was hired as Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer. She adopted the task of making Facebook profitable, and through the use of discreet advertising, the company’s profits suddenly started to grow by 2010. According to Forbes, “Sandberg helped the social network scale globally, go public and expand digital revenue.” Sandberg is responsible for overseeing business operations relating to sales and marketing, business development, public policy, HR and communications for Facebook. She is also known for advocating for workplace equality and released her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead in early 2013. It has since become a global success with over 1 million copies sold.

Susan Wojcicki: CEO of YouTube
Susan Wojcicki (pronounced “vu-CHIT-ski”) comes from a family of female achievers – her sister Janet holds a PhD as an anthropologist and epidemiologist. Her other sister Anne is the founder of the personal genomics and biotechnology company, 23andMe. Susan was appointed as Google’s 16th employee. However, it was in her garage in Menlo Park that Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, set up their office.

Susan Wojcicki studied at Harvard, graduating with honours in history and literature. She’d planned on pursuing academics, but soon discovered technology and received her Masters of Science in Economics (1993) and her MBA (1998). A year after Google became incorporated, Wojcicki was hired as the company’s first marketing manager in 1999. Her primary focus was on viral programmes and the first Google doodles, and helped develop Google Images and Google Books.

She became the Senior VP of Advertising and Commerce at Google, leading ad and analytic products (AdWords, DoubleClick and Google Analytics), and developed AdSense – Google’s second largest source of revenue. It was under Wojcicki’s leadership that Google purchased YouTube ($1.65 billion), which would replace Google Video, and DoubleClick ($3.1 billion). She held the office of Senior VP of YouTube, becoming its CEO in February 2014.

In 2011, she was named “the most important person in advertising” and holds many positions on lists that praise the most popular, influential and powerful women. She values the balance between work and family life – and, with five children, is a strong advocate of paid maternity leave.

The ICT industry provides endless opportunities for South Africans to advance their careers and although it is still largely male-dominated, there are more and more woman that are making great strides in changing the face of the industry.

If you are looking for new opportunities in your career, we can assist. Communicate Personnel is an IT recruitment company with consultants that specialize in working with developers, architects, consultants in CRM and ERP through to BI and BA. Check out our vacancies pages and apply today.


Road Freight Challenges in South Africa

Mallisa Watson - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

truck Freight transport is the backbone of any countries economy.  In South Africa road freight contributes 46% to the economy. It is no secret that the road freight industry is rapidly developing, in both South Africa and Africa which offers numerous opportunities.  

However, there are and always will be a number of challenges this industry face.  According to the 10th State of Logistics survey for South Africa, the main areas we should focus on is our transport infrastructure, logistics cost and the lack of a skilled workforce.

Transport infrastructure
The state of a country’s transport infrastructure determines the performance and growth of its economy, as well as the social and economic opportunities available to that country’s people. South Africa needs to invest in its transport infrastructure, as the overall impression is that the condition of road infrastructure in the country has been in decline for a number of years.

Government will spend R813 billion on infrastructures over the next three years. Transport and logistics account for 42% of spending on infrastructure. These investments are aimed to improve the national transport infrastructure network, improving the mobility of people and services and easing local trade.

It becomes trickier when resources are harder to find and the government are already feeling the heat financially. Private sector involvement has done a lot to balance the scales where public funding is limited.

Logistics costs
Fuel costs are by far the most significant and unstable cost driver in transport (and therefore logistics) costs. However, vehicle repair, maintenance and tyre wear also plays their part in this. When road roughness increases, fuel consumption of heavy trucks increases as well. As South Africa is dependent on road transportation, the effects of these costs on the overall economy may be cause for concern.

Lack of a skilled workforce
Another hurdle on the road within the industry is the lack of a skilled workforce. The unavailability of a skilled workforce is viewed as one of the key constraints to the growth of business operations in South Africa. This appears to be a global problem in the freight industry with 39% of businesses around the world struggling to recruit the appropriate people.

Nearly two in five businesses (37%) in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies believe an inability to get the right workers will reduce growth in the years to come. It has thus become important to identify the logistics skills requirements in South Africa so that these shortages can be addressed to the benefit of trade in and with South Africa.

Of course, each year brings with it more challenges and more opportunity. As the road freight sector expands, it will find solutions to pave the way forward for a brighter future.

Do you consider yourself to be the very best when it comes to the Freight industry? Are you qualified in this field? We have opportunities available in Sales, Road Freight, Courier, Warehousing, Logistics, Production and more. Check out our vacancy page and apply today.

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Interview tips for Hiring Managers

Sandra Olivier - Friday, August 14, 2015

executive women When it comes to job interviews there are hundreds of blogs, articles, and forums for candidates offering advice on how to ace that very important next interview. From a hiring managers’ point of view this process is just as important to ensure that you hire the right person. This is no easy feat. Asking the right questions during the interview process can make all the difference to ensure that you will be able to make a well-informed decision about which candidate have the right skills, the right experience and right attitude to fit into your team and will ultimately be a good hire.

To give you some ideas for the next time you're screening candidates, we’ve put together five interview questions you should ask to help you select employees that will be successful.

Question 1:
“Tell me about a situation in one of your previous jobs where you had to set difficult goals. What did you do to achieve these goals? Explain to me the process you followed”

This question is especially relevant if you are trying to find a candidate that is very result oriented. It will give you insight into how they deal with difficult and challenging situations and if they are the type of candidate that will put effort in to achieve their goals even when faced with challenges.  

Question 2:
“From everything you’ve learned about this role, me and our company, tell me how you feel you’d be able to contribute.”

This question reveals a lot about the motivation behind a candidate’s application. Did they really to their research about your company and the role and consider how they match what you need, or did they just blindly apply and hope for the best.

Question 3:
“What are the first three things you would do on the job if you were hired for this position?”

You will gain insight into how well the applicant understands the requirements of the job but also what they consider important and how they approach challenges. 

Question 4:
If you could start your career over again, what would you do differently?”

Asking a candidate to explain the major decisions he has made, highlighting the positive and negative, reveals the person’s ability to make calculated decisions based on past professional and personal experiences.

Question 5:
If you could change one thing in your current position or company, what would that be?”

The question really gets to the heart of the matter as it allows you to get a glimpse at the real reason applicants are looking to make a change and what will be important to them in their next position. One of the most important things to establish with potential hires is whether they are really motivated to make a move and whether or not their expectations are realistic.

Recruiting and hiring good employees is arguably the most critical aspect of a successful business. After all, if you're not hiring the right people to begin with, your ability to succeed in nearly everything else you do in your staffing practices will be greatly compromised.

Are you looking to make a new hire, want to avoid making a hiring mistake that will cost you time and money? Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We specialise in the sourcing of top candidates in the Finance, IT, Engineering and Supply Chain/Freight industries, both for permanent and contracting placements throughout South Africa, and the African continent.

We also have various vacancies, which includes Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Freight jobs and Supply Chain jobs.


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Credit: by graur codrin



Previous posts

  1. Do #ilooklikeanengineer? The biggest names inspiring female engineers today Sandra Olivier 11 hours 28 mins ago
  2. Changes In The Internal Auditing Function Mallisa Watson 25-Aug-2015
  3. Three of the Most Influential Women in IT Sandra Olivier 21-Aug-2015
  4. Road Freight Challenges in South Africa Mallisa Watson 18-Aug-2015
  5. Interview tips for Hiring Managers Sandra Olivier 14-Aug-2015
  6. Women changing the status quo in leadership Mallisa Watson 09-Aug-2015
  7. Stressed out! Don’t be… Mallisa Watson 07-Aug-2015
  8. New Regulations For South Africa’s Construction Industry Mallisa Watson 04-Aug-2015
  9. What is the Cost of a Bad Hire? Sandra Olivier 31-Jul-2015
  10. Is Java still the programming language to use? Mallisa Watson 28-Jul-2015
  11. Why Recruitment is a good career choice Mallisa Watson 24-Jul-2015
  12. Research reveals financial services require more female millennials for growth Sandra Olivier 21-Jul-2015
  13. Managers: Would you let your team work from home? Sandra Olivier 17-Jul-2015
  14. Do You Work For A Great Company? Mallisa Watson 14-Jul-2015
  15. Roadmap to success at a new job Sandra Olivier 10-Jul-2015
  16. What does the future hold for the Procurement and Supply Chain industries? Mallisa Watson 07-Jul-2015
  17. Managing Your Talent In The Workplace Mallisa Watson 03-Jul-2015
  18. Cape Town a construction hub Sandra Olivier 30-Jun-2015
  19. How millennials should approach job interviews Sandra Olivier 26-Jun-2015
  20. Advantages of Insourcing vs Outsourcing Mallisa Watson 23-Jun-2015
  21. BEE offers both challenges and opportunities Sandra Olivier 19-Jun-2015
  22. 2015 ITWeb/CareerWeb Salary Survey Results Sandra Olivier 18-Jun-2015
  23. How To Dress Up Your CV For Success Mallisa Watson 12-Jun-2015
  24. Recruitment as a Career Mallisa Watson 09-Jun-2015
  25. What does dress for success mean in a new Millennium? Sandra Olivier 05-Jun-2015
  26. How To Brand Yourself As A Financial Analyst Mallisa Watson 02-Jun-2015
  27. How to get back into the South African workforce Sandra Olivier 29-May-2015
  28. Connecting Africa’s Largest Inland Port Mallisa Watson 26-May-2015
  29. Soft Skills: The Key to Landing your next job Sandra Olivier 22-May-2015
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