She sees skills as the new gold
She has a conviction that anything is possible and a desire to make a difference. Ework Group’s new CEO Karin Schreil sees skills as the new gold – and gets energy from digging deep with the shovel in her garden.
We meet via Teams just before Christmas. Between two other meetings. Ever since Karin Schreil started as CEO just over one month ago, her diary has been fully booked. She is impressed by what she has experienced at meetings with the ten or so offices she has been able to visit so far, in Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Finland and Norway. Every day, new meetings with curious, engaged employees – with a desire to learn more, to keep on developing.
One of Karin’s first tasks as new CEO was to present prizes at the Ework Group Awards. Fifteen employees received awards for their impressive efforts during the year. An important tradition that builds pride, Karin thinks.
“Ework Group is a company I’ve always been impressed by, and that has been an important partner to many of the businesses where I’ve worked in recent decades.”
But let’s rewind a bit; Karin grows up in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Kalmar and Karlstad. Her interest for the interaction between humans and technology arise at an early stage. She graduates in Mechanical Engineering, specialising in Graphical Engineering, at KTH in Stockholm, and studies Engineering Design at ETH in Zurich. She does her master thesis at ABB, where she helps to design a user interface for industrial processes.
“Curiosity is one of my strongest driving forces. I want to understand how things work and how to make them better.”
While growing up, Karin is encouraged to explore new things, and she dedicates herself to many different leisure activities. Helping out with practical chores at the family’s country house outside Karlskrona in the summer holidays she learns that that nothing is impossible – regardless of whether you’re a girl or a boy. When Karin starts her career, she arrives at a company where both qualifications and diversity are valued highly. At the samt time she realises that in many other places there are differences in conditions between men and women.
“That awoke a frustration in me, and ever since then I’ve been strongly engaged in issues relating to equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.”
She believes that curiosity, the conviction that anything is possible and the desire to make a difference in society have brought her to where she is today. When she accepts a job offer, it must appeal to both the head and the heart.
“There must also be a potential for development and a journey that encompasses customers and employees. As with Ework Group. There are amazing employees and consultants here, with a wholehearted passion for our clients.”
What do you see as the next step?
“On the one hand, benefiting from new technology to be able to act even more efficiently, faster and with even higher quality, on the other hand, meeting our clients’ needs at a deeper level. By entering at an early stage, advising and providing support along the whole skills supply chain, we can create greater added value for the client.”
She emphasises on how important it is to understand the actual need in order to identify the smartest solution. Ideas must be tested, rejected and renewed. The best result is achieved when Ework Group works in cross-functional, agile teams with different skills and experiences.
Karin has been working with continuous improvements for as long as she can remember. She was three years old when she took her first turns on skates. Figure skating was both enjoyable and challenging. Improvement and refinement, over and over again. When she was older, she continued skating in the Scandinavium Ice Kids show group.
“It was great fun. Creating something together with others and delivering a good show as a team gave me so much more than standing on the ice alone. There and then, came the first insights into what can be achieved when you collaborate and support one another.”
Another important experience she brings with her from her upbringing is to make use of every individual’s full potential. Coaching, feedback and skills development create the conditions for progress and renewal.
“Skills have become the new gold. Access to the right expertise at the right time is particularly important in the areas of Tech, IT and Telecom, where development is moving rapidly. There are tremendous needs for digital skills related to the digitalization of businesses and societies – today, tomorrow and in the future.”
The positive effect that the recent pandemic has had on digitalization is clear to all of us who spent a lot of time at home instead of at the workplace. Remote working got a clear boost, and more and more clients are looking for talent and skills on the global market; something that Ework Group is perfectly positioned to help with, thanks to the vast network of consultants across Europe.
Karin estimate that digitalisation has been accelerated by at least three years since the first outbreak of the coronavirus. For Ework’s part, the change in behaviour means that clients are adopting new technology and making use of platforms to look for talent and skills. They expect a digital service to work as well in business operations as in private. The development of new functionality in Verama is one of several new initiatives expected during 2022. The new CEO also Ework to be more visible in the market.
“Many know us as a serious provider of skilled consultants. That’s good, but Ework Group is so much more. I want us to make an even greater contribution to resolving one of today’s biggest challenges: the skills shortage, for example by supporting skills development and attracting more women to join our network. We have lots of exciting and important assignments to offer that require a variety of skills, not just in the field of technology.”
At present, around six out of ten employees at Ework are women, however only around three out of every ten consultants in Ework Group’s network are women. The same is true in many Tech companies. At the same time, there is a major skills shortage in the Tech sector. TechSverige’s report “The IT Skills Shortage” alerts to an expected deficit of 70,000 tech professionals by 2024, unless special action is taken. As a member of the board at the industry association TechSverige, Karin is involved in the work to bring about a change.
“A world-leading tech sector is built through excellence and collaboration, and everyone is needed – men, women, young, experienced, domestic-born and foreign-born. Through TechSverige’s skills council, we are pushing vital issues for the industry and implementing practical initiatives to attract, educate and match professionals with employers in the Tech sector.”
When I ask Karin where she finds her strength and inspiration, she answers in a flash: in the garden. She loves being outside, doing physical work.
“My neighbours always laugh when they see me, sweaty and covered in mud.”
There is a long list of green improvement projects. Last year she arranged new edge supports for flower beds, extended the already large stand of rhubarb plants, renovated stone pavings and installed a robotic lawnmower.
“These are perfect projects for me, you can see the improvements straight away and I get new energy from being active outdoors.”
- Age: 51.
- Lives in: Danderyd, Stockholm.
- Works as: Newly appointed CEO of Ework Group.
- Background: Extensive experience from senior positions in the field of IT and tech, including at TietoEvry, Fujitsu and CGI.
- Leisure time: “A lot revolves around my teenage children, the home and the garden. I love being active and try to make time for running and golf in the summer, skiing and ice skating in the winter. Holidays are usually in warmer climes: favourite destinations include the south of France and Spain.”
Clients, consultants & employees
The collaboration with Aurobay is a little bit broader and a little bit tougher than other collaborations. That’s how Erik Degerman at Ework Group sees it.
To grow fast, Aurobay depends on consultants, and needs often arise at short notice. The solution from Ework Group meets all requirements and makes the company ready for the future.