IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The loyalty of the engineers at Saab

On Tuesday this week I gave you a translation of an article from Göteborgs-posten written by the current and the previous head of the labor union of the engineers at Saab. In this article the two writers wrote about their and their colleagues' conviction that Saab has a future.

With all the turmoil that has surrounded Saab the last six months, one would expect many engineers to look for a new and more secure job. In Sweden there is a big demand for engineers. The unemployment rate for engineers is only around 1 per cent! In March Volvo announced that they would hire 900 new engineers in Gothenburg, which is only 100 km south of Trollhättan. Saab has hundreds of experienced engineers, of whom many have international experience from the GM era. But when Volvo started recruiting, it was easier said than done. Comments from recruiters at Volvo have indicated that an unexpected low number of Saab engineers have applied for the positions at Volvo. And Volvo has been forced to look abroad for engineers. Also in Västerås in Sweden 27 companies are cooperating to try to tempt foreign engineers to come to Sweden.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, which yesterday had an article about the engineers at Saab, the professional association (akademikerföreningen) at Saab, in which a majority of the engineers are organized, tells the newspaper that according to their figures the turnover rate among the employees at Saab has been under 15 per cent during 2011. The lowest turnover which the association has registered previously is 5 per cent and the highest is 14 per cent. I would say that under 15 per cent is amazing and yet another sign that the workers at Saab truly love their jobs and their company.

But why do the engineers stay when they can't be sure that they will get their wage payment on time and they can get a new job in no time?

Per Bränneby, the head of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers (Sveriges Ingenjörer) at Saab, tells Svenska Dagbladet that despite an incredibly good labor market for engineers, he isn't tempted at looking for work elsewhere. According to him, the loyalty of the Saab workers stem from their belief in Saab's business plan, the hope of a solution and the love of the Saab products.

"We believe that in the end Muller will fix this. Here [at Saab] we are given the opportunity to be involved in decisions and to work with a broad number of tasks as an engineer. That's what makes Saab special as a workplace," Per Bränneby says to Svenska Dagbladet.