Jenny Wang "I enjoy working with people"
As HR Director in Suzhou, a city in Southern China, Jenny Wang experiences at firsthand how rapidly Oerlikon is growing in the world’s largest textile market.
“ There are two paradises in China: one is Suzhou, the other is Hangzhou,” Jenny Wang says, quoting an old Chinese saying. Suzhou is located in the province of Jiangsu, about a one-hour drive from Shanghai. With canals crisscrossing the city, Suzhou has also been dubbed the Venice of the East and has been a leading manufacturer of silk for centuries. It is one of the centers of the Chinese textile industry and also one of Oerlikon’s key locations in China. This is where Jenny Wang was born. She first studied information technology, but quickly realized that the subject matter she encountered in her day-to-day work just didn’t appeal to her: “I wanted to work with people,” she says. After a few detours, she finally landed in human resources and joined what was formerly Barmag Suzhou as HR supervisor in 2002. During the integration of Barmag and Saurer, she took over all HR functions and has since followed a continuous path of further development. She has experienced this location’s rapid growth at firsthand. Today, the 38-year-old HR Director is in charge of all of the business units of Oerlikon Textile and Oerlikon Graziano in Suzhou.
More than half of the city’s ten million inhabitants come from other areas of the country. People moved to Suzhou for better job opportunities and comfortable living conditions. This city, now an industrial metropolis, is known throughout China for its gardens, like the “Humble Administrator’s Garden.” Wang appreciates working for a European company: “I think Western companies have a more mature management style,” she says. And quickly adds that, today, Oerlikon is actually a normal Chinese company with local employees on the production lines that supplies the local market. The challenge is finding qualified staff: “China may have a large population, but the education system is sorely in need of improvement. Graduates frequently just aren’t at the level we require,” Wang explains. As a result, she devised a recruitment program that selects qualified university graduates based on a strict set of criteria and then specifically prepares them for their future duties within the company. Wang likes spending her free time with her four-year-old daughter. Or she gets together to chat with friends who also work in HR: “China is so dynamic today that we always have to strive to stay up to date,” she says.