Middle age of personnel has risen in the water sector. This is becoming a risk to companies, particularly in project work. Actions are needed to share knowledge, development, and to attract young people to the water sector.
Many planning agencies work on “overtime” already. Significant part of fundamental project knowhow is in the possession of respected retired persons, who come to work with separate contracts. In a way, there is no problem with that, however, they have other things on their minds. Someone wants to focus on their grandchildren, other on traveling, and the third on building the long dreamed of summer cottage to family owned land.
The clients trust these experienced designers and offer them interesting projects. What remains to be solved is how can companies ensure getting new employees, employ them, and transfer knowledge to them in controlled way. Work must find persons who continue, and the new workers need the knowledge gained by experience.
The image of water sector is not attracting enough of young talents
Long careers are typical for water infrastructure business. The companies are rather small, and the turnover rate of employees is low. In addition, especially in metropolitan areas, new recruitments cannot be made unless enough work has been ensured for the future. This also slows down attracting new faces to the business.
Shared challenge is that the image of the business does not match reality. Actions and especially the impacts of the companies are not known enough. The whole water sector is perceived only as water treatment plants. Moreover, for instance, wastewater treatment does not often sound attractive for the young people. Even though, wastewater treatment is crucial to all societies and the whole world.
We could start advertising the business by telling that Finland has the cleanest lakes, because we had the knowhow and the possibility to treat our wastewaters on time.
Econet solves the matter with development plan for the whole staff
In order to continue designing and do contract work in water and wastewater treatment in competitive manner in Finland, Russia, and East Asia, we have implemented skills survey for the whole staff. With the survey we clarify what kind of knowhow we have in our company, what we should have more, and what new is required. We will make a development plan according to the survey and define follow-ups. This strengthens the strategy of the company and future growth plans.
In the future, we will build the project teams so that there is a clear mentor, who shares their own knowhow. This is how we can secure transferring tacit knowledge and the continuity of the work of the teams.
We in the water sector make the world better place to live, because everyone has right to clean water.
CEO of Econet Group
Further information for the media:
Lauri Leskinen, Econet Group Oy, tel.+358 (0)44 724 5639, lauri.leskinen(at)econetgroup.fi
Econet Group is a water and environment technology service company. The Group includes Econet Ltd, Dewaco Ltd and Oy Slamex Ab. Helsinki-based Econet designs and offers solutions for clean water and environment globally. Laitila-based Dewaco, in turn, is specialised in sludge thickening, dewatering and sludge removal. Lahti-based Slamex designs and manufactures equipment for treatment of water and wastewater. The Group’s turnover amounts to about EUR 18 million.