Florian Nägele is an engineer by background. And throughout his 13 years at McKinsey, he’s done quite a tour of the German and Swiss industrial sectors, taking in everything from technical heavy industries, such as advanced electronics, smart metering, and automotive mobility, to full scale industrial conglomerates and the like.
“The Swiss landscape is certainly more diverse, addressing a broader range of clients, and this obviously has some implications for the workforce it attracts,” Florian said. “There’s a constant demand for high calibre talent to service this relatively small sector of companies that competes at the highest international levels,” he added.
It can’t be easy to compete internationally from an industrial production plant on the shores of lake Zürich. How do they do it? “The days of developing a superior product and charging more for it are over. These companies have found a secret sauce. Be it automation, higher margins, super differentiated products, and so on,” Florian explained. “It’s very impressive. Ultimately, it’s a strategy that is defined by the owners and translated by a very capable management, and highly skilled workforce.”
Are there other challenges? “Absolutely. They’re everywhere,” responded Florian. “Geopolitical uncertainty has never been more relevant, and the pace of change in the industrial sector has increased exponentially. Anyone entering this sector needs to be well-equipped to make decisions and thrive in these uncertain and ever-changing conditions.”
To illustrate the point, Florian continued, “We’ve just reached eight billion people in the world. No matter how we spin it, decarbonisation is a topic that’s here to stay. And it requires companies to change, constantly and drastically, on many different fronts. Society is coining topics at a rapid rate, and this affects business. This forced broadening of focus on societal issues is leading to constant disruption, no matter where you look.”
Florian Nägele is Partner at McKinsey & Company, Zürich. We are delighted that Florian is joining as member of our newly formed University of St.Gallen “Future Skills Advisory Board”.