Mary Howick, VP of human resources at Pramerica
Mary Howick, VP of human resources at Pramerica. Image: Connor McKenna

Pramerica: ‘Enable your staff to grow their careers or risk losing them’

29 Feb 2016

There’s a war going on for your talent. With young professionals now more likely than ever to switch jobs regularly throughout their career, how can companies retain their staff? For Pramerica, it comes down to allowing employees’ careers to grow.

Pramerica, a subsidiary of the US-based Prudential Financial, was at Career Zoo last week (20 February) to speak to candidates about some of the 100 roles currently open at the IT and professional services company.

Pramerica is going through a period of massive growth, announcing last year the expansion of its Letterkenny facility and the creation of 330 jobs.

Growth, however, doesn’t shield the company from the broader concerns of the tech industry. The end of the ‘job for life’ mentality still hits, as professionals stay on the hunt for other opportunities.

At Career Zoo, we sat down with Mary Howick, VP of human resources at Pramerica, who spoke about how the multinational strives to engage its staff members in order to combat that constant movement.

“People are no longer willing to sit at their desks and do the same job year after year. And, really, people can’t afford to do it,” says Howick. “They have to keep growing and expanding and staying relevant.”

“It’s important that companies put progression opportunities in place for people, internally, and we have made a big effort to do that.”

Some of those opportunities include mentoring programmes, and an ethos that not only allows for, but encourages, staff members to change disciplines or focus. This creates a lot of internal movement, and lessens some of the bleeding to other tech companies.

According to Howick: “People definitely need to grow, and they need to move in some way or another. If the opportunities aren’t internal, then you’re going to lose them externally.”

From retention to recruitment

Retention is one thing, but recruitment is another. The talent gap – more vacancies than people to fill them – is real, and it’s growing. The solution, according to Howick, is simple: grow your own.

Pramerica has close connections with local institutes of education – like Letterkenny IT and Queen’s University, Belfast – and uses these connections to develop the talent pipeline it uses to drive a lot of its recruitment.

The company has put programmes in place that ensure graduates of these institutes are trained in the skills that are important to Pramerica, then hires those graduates and supports them as they develop their careers.

“You can’t depend on the external market anymore, you also have to grow your own talent,” says Howick. “And you have to invest in people. You have to train them, you have to develop them and you have to help them grow within the organisation.”

But skills aren’t the only facet of recruitment that Pramerica is paying attention to, and diversity is something of huge importance to the company – not just gender diversity, but diversity of ethnicity too.

At Pramerica, it’s a matter of gender/race blindness: “Every job that is posted is filled on the person’s ability to do the job,” says Howick. “We don’t think about their background in any way. It’s ‘can you do the job or can’t you do it’?”

For more information on working at Pramerica, watch the full interview with Mary Howick:

Looking for tech jobs in Ireland? Check out our Featured Employers section for information on companies hiring right now.

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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