Case study

Capgemini - a clear focus on talent attraction and retention

How consulting, technology and outsourcing giant, Capgemini, continues to open the door to new and exciting global career opportunities in the Highlands and Islands.

A global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation, Capgemini set up its first Highlands operation in Inverness in 1998.

Today, the company has two key centres in the north of Scotland, a flagship office in the city of Inverness and a second operational base in nearby Nairn. Across both centres, Capgemini employs around 850 people full-time. They work in a range of technical areas as diverse as cloud infrastructure management, cyber security, agile system development and in support services such as project management, finance, and HR.


Support from HIE

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) actively works with international companies who are looking to establish new operations in the Highlands and Islands, or who are looking to expand their existing operations in the region.

“We make it our business to understand their ambitions and drivers. It can then often require innovative and creative thinking at a strategic level to support growth opportunities,” explains James Cameron, Global Accounts Lead at HIE. This kind of original thinking, he says, can be illustrated by a decision HIE took back in 2013 in its efforts to help Capgemini expand its operations in the Highlands.

“In 2013, Capgemini in Inverness was heading towards a period of sustained growth,” says James. “The company needed new premises and needed them quick, and so at HIE we took the bold and ultimately right decision to vacate our own offices in Cowan House on Inverness Business and Retail Park, so that Capgemini could relocate its fast-growing operation to new and appropriate premises immediately.

“Fast forward 10 years, and what was once viewed as a ‘call centre operation’ has evolved into a critical UK hub of a global business delivering world-leading technology and security services to clients across the country and beyond, opening up opportunities for employees to develop a range of skills across the company.”

Capgemini is a business that continues to invest in skills development and reaps the rewards in staff loyalty & retention. Companies investing in their people tend to keep their people. We see this repeated with major global employers across all sectors.
James Cameron, Global Accounts Lead, HIE

A focus on highly technical and specialist IT services

Having long moved its operations far beyond its early call centre focus, Capgemini in the Highlands has seen more recent growth focused in a number of highly technical and specialist IT services. These include infrastructure management, where it employs around 600 people as service desk analysts, and in cyber security, where it employs around 120 people.

Clients managed from its Highland centres range from the Metropolitan Police and the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) IT Service Centre. Reflecting this evolving client base some 450+ of Capgemini’s 850 full-time employees in the Highlands now have security clearance and 90% are cyber security certified.

These major new business wins have seen the workforce at Capgemini in the Highlands grow by over 300 in the past two years. As a result, the leadership team is working with HIE and other regional partners to ensure they can continue to recruit, retain and develop employees at all levels. As Innis Montgomery, Highlands Delivery Centre Lead at Capgemini, explains:

“As our business in the Highlands continues to grow, we are in a continuous recruitment and training mode, and we are always striving to provide attractive career development paths to help overcome recruitment challenges in a competitive market. However, while we do have a steady stream of recruits, our strategic focus is increasingly on upskilling existing employees, and building our technical capability here in the Highlands in the high-end, high value roles that will be required by our customers long-term.

“We continue to work with Manpower to recruit and bring in our people for year 1, but after that first year, they transition to Capgemini, and we start upskilling and developing individuals on their chosen career path. We want to make sure those who want to progress their careers with us long term are given every opportunity to do so. So we are working closely with HIE and others to ensure that the skills development pathways needed to support the ambitions of our employees are in place locally.”


Developing skills

A primary focus for HIE is working with partners across the wider skills system to help ensure that national policy, and the funding to support it, is working at a local level. Ensuring that policy delivery is meeting the needs of companies like Capgemini and others, both large and small, right across the Highlands and Islands, who are now facing a range of challenges in a tightening employment market. As Morven Fancey, Head of Universities, Education and Skills at HIE, explains:

“We want to understand the challenges and help employers to address them, so that we can retain more of our young people here in the Highlands and Islands. Many of the big employers that we work with, such as Capgemini, will naturally have more resources and a greater willingness to invest in their people development and retention. We recognise this, and so it’s important that we work with them, and with others such as UHI and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to ensure the appropriate support mechanisms for learning and development are in place.

“This is particularly important here in the Highlands and Islands where global companies based in the region play such a crucial role in helping to offset out-migration, not only by giving young people excellent career opportunities, but also by attracting others back to work in the Highlands, or indeed to move here for the first time.”

Our region has a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle, and when employers can offer high value careers, and our local colleges can support these careers, then we have a very attractive offer.
Morven Fancey , Head of Universities, Education and Skills, HIE

New thinking, new opportunities

With support from Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Capgemini is currently launching a new modern apprenticeship programme with UHI Inverness. This programme will initially only be open to Capgemini employees, but going forward Capgemini, UHI Inverness and SDS will be taking the offer out to schools and colleges across the region.

The new programme is just one example of how SDS has worked with Capgemini over recent years to develop its workforce development strategy as it has expanded its operations in the Highlands. As Derek Cairns, Growth and Inward Investment Manager at Skills Development Scotland, explains:

"Capgemini is a great example of how an employer can unlock its growth potential and benefit from skills support by investing in its workforce. Skills gaps and shortages are a particular challenge in the tech sector, so by developing a well-established apprenticeship programme, Capgemini has been able to grow its own talent and mark itself out as an attractive employer in the Highlands.

"Alongside our local partners, SDS has played a key role not only through apprenticeship funding, but in also helping Capgemini to develop the relationships that it needs to attract, recruit and retain the right people."


Developing and retaining talent

Capgemini has also engaged with UHI Inverness to deliver technical training and has some 20 employees completing certification through that process. As Innis explains, with these developments and others, the aim is very much to develop and retain talent long term. He says:

"Across the UK, the real recruitment challenge Capgemini faces today is finding technicians across a multitude of disciplines, and increasingly we are having to pay a premium for these skillsets. So here in the Highlands, our strategy is to build up that capability internally through the various training and development initiatives that we are pursuing.

"We want to retain our people, as it is much better for the business long term. And to help with that we offer clear and structured career frameworks across all roles – and indeed all employees have very different careers paths open to them."

"I myself joined Capgemini in 2014 having been Director of Technology at the Houses of Parliament. I’m originally from Lewis and had worked in London for 24 years before the opportunity to return to the Highlands and Islands came up.

"If the same kind of opportunities that Capgemini is now offering local young people today had been available then, I would probably have stayed here.

"My colleague, Susan Mackenzie, did just that. She joined the finance team at Capgemini in Inverness 25 years ago, and now 11 roles and 10 promotions later, she is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Northern and Central Europe. These career opportunities are here, maybe not all to that level, but they are here!” Read Susan's story below.

Success stories only serve to illustrate and underline the fact that any career path that is available in Capgemini, from entry level right to the top, can be done from the Highlands.

Of course, for potential recruits who may want to remain as a service desk analyst long term, then there will always be a need for these career skills, but for the more ambitious, then there will always be opportunities to take a career in a technical discipline to a higher level.

Indeed, for the right people with the right skills and right attitude, there is the potential to realise all their career aspirations with Capgemini in the Highlands.

A global career made in the Highlands and Islands

In conversation with Susan Mackenzie,
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Northern and Central Europe, Capgemini

“I’ve been with Capgemini for 25 years now. When I first joined, I didn’t know much about the company, I just needed a job, and I applied for a job in Accounts Payable. In truth, I did not imagine I’d stay very long, but I realised very quickly that within a large organisation there are opportunities, and I quickly worked my way up.

That was something I perhaps didn’t know back at the start of my career, just what kind of advantages working for such a big organisation can bring, and the doors that it can open.

 Twenty-four years later, and my role now is very much a global one. I obviously still have involvement in the Highlands, and I still live in the Highlands, but my role covers Northern Europe, so this includes the UK, the Nordic countries, Germany and the Netherlands.

 And there are many other stories like mine in Capgemini. People who have come in from a non-IT background and found their niche here in Capgemini. Within this business there are constant conversations about people development and learning opportunities, and indeed no matter where people are in their career, they are still learning every day.

 Beyond that, one of the main reasons I’ve stayed so long is the people, and the atmosphere, which is vital for retaining staff. One of Capgemini’s seven core values is fun – and I think that is important. We all spend a lot of time at work, so it important that we enjoy our work.

 Throughout my 25 years with Capgemini another constant has been the support that we’ve received from HIE. Whether that is providing us with a lovely building back at the beginning or the more general support and in terms of moving public perception of the business away from the call centre to better reflect the highly technical work we do now.

Obviously, the Highlands will continue to be of huge importance to Capgemini going forward. Cyber security is a huge growth area and a key issue for so many businesses. And we now have so much experience in this field here in the Highlands – people who have been with us for 20 plus years – so we will continue to focus on this and that will continue to drive growth. Like my own career, the IT industry is always evolving, so there is never time to stand still.”


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