Indeed, talent is one thing that ensures the bright future of any organisation. In fact, the right talent can take a company’s future from bright to brighter and brightest. Recognising this need for and the significance of the right skills, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) plans to invest the next two to three years in nurturing and developing its talent base.
“MBRDI primarily emphasises on four major trends, referred to as CASE — short for Connected cars, Autonomous driving, Shared mobility, and Electric vehicles. The main focus lies in the areas of connectedness, autonomy and electrification. Therefore, we seek individuals with expertise in these three areas,” enunciates Mahesh Medhekar, VP-HR, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India.
When it comes to hiring and getting the right talent on board, MBRDI follows two main approaches:
(i) Hiring freshers: MBRDI actively recruits from universities, targeting individuals with backgrounds in computer science, electronics and communications, electrical/ electronics, mechanical engineering and mechatronics.
(ii) Hiring laterals: For lateral hiring, MBRDI seeks out individuals with expertise in Java full stack development, AUTOSAR model development, Python, cloud and data technologies, embedded software development and software testing. These are considered essential digital skills that are highly valued by MBRDI. “It is not necessary that they possess prior experience in the automobile domain as long as they understand these and related technologies.MBRDI has a comprehensive onboarding process in place, along with the essential training, to bridge any knowledge gaps and familiarise new employees with their systems, methods and products. This approach enables individuals to effectively utilise these technologies within the organisation,” opines Medhekar.
However, any employee coming in would have a different responsibility and course of action according to their levels and expertise. Therefore, the company also focuses on handling them with roles that rightly match their current level of experience and expertise.
“MBRDI primarily emphasises on four major trends, referred to as CASE — short for Connected cars, Autonomous driving, Shared mobility, and Electric vehicles. The main focus lies in the areas of connectedness, autonomy and electrification. Therefore, we seek individuals with expertise in these three areas.”
Mahesh Medhekar, VP-HR, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India
Entry level hiring
New joinees and freshers can expect to work on various projects in different areas, such as mobile app development, platform development, software development for infotainment clusters, and the development of autonomous driving functionalities.
“Currently, the mobility industry is undergoing an exciting transformation driven by technological advancements. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly significant as cars evolve from purely mechanical objects to mechatronics objects and software products. The focus now lies in effectively integrating digital devices within the car’s interior. Safety is also a critical dimension that requires attention in this context,” asserts Medhekar. Therefore, the company also put a lot more emphasis on safety when ensuring roles for automotive driving when they hire on entry levels.
Furthermore, on the autonomous side, the company focuses on developing advanced functionalities for autonomous driving, specifically within the range of level three to level five. These advancements fall under the category of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and involve cutting-edge technologies.
“From a mechanical perspective, we delve into component design, covering various aspects such as body in white, interior components, exterior components, engine periphery and wiring harnesses. Component design is a key area of focus for mechanical and mechatronics engineers. Additionally, we conduct CA or computer-aided simulation to validate and test the durability, strength and robustness of these components,” points out Medhekar. Safety considerations, including occupant safety, child safety and pedestrian protection, are also essential aspects that the company addresses.
For such roles, the company looks for individuals with a strong mechanical background.
Mid-level professionals play a crucial role in leveraging their experience to define and design innovative solutions. “We go beyond simply following instructions and strive to discover new ways, including digital solutions, in our work. The goal in India is to utilise these digital skills to keep car development as computer-based as possible, reducing the process time for developing cars or their components. This approach enables us to maximise efficiency and effectiveness,” believes Medhekar.
In addition to the mechanical and digital dimensions, the company also focuses on IT solutions. As an international organisation, the company manages and implements various extensive IT systems, such as ERP systems, engineering portals, IT infrastructure management, cybersecurity and vendor governance. Collaboration with IT vendors in India is also an important aspect of its work. Furthermore, employees are responsible for handling assigned projects and collaborating with IT vendors in India.
Currently, the company is looking to expand its India team, putting a lot more emphasis in leveraging talent from home. “We recognise the availability of talent, particularly digital talent, as a crucial factor in redefining mobility solutions within the automotive sector,” asserts Medhkear.
“Our aim is to leverage this digital capability and integrate it with core technologies. We take advantage of the talent pool within India and also collaborate with the supplier and vendor ecosystems in cities like Bangalore and Pune, where we have established offices, as well as other cities across the country,” explains Medhekar. According to him, “This focus on talent availability and ecosystem collaboration has been a significant motivator for our presence in India and the development of our capabilities”.
The company also offers opportunities to nurture talent and build competencies within the teams. They have established programmes such as the University Connect programme that offers internships to many individuals. It helps them gain exposure to relevant topics, work on projects, and start their careers with the company. Additionally, it also offers upskilling programmes for both freshers and existing employees, ensuring continuous learning and growth. Dedicated scholarships, like Mercers in MEC, are also provided to encourage women freshers and engineers to pursue mechanical engineering.
“The need for additional talent in the India team is driven by the desire to leverage digital talent and redefine mobility solutions, alongside market trends and business demands. We strive to align our initiatives and training programmes to create more career opportunities and foster career growth for individuals in the technology-focused areas,” opines Medhekar.
Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India puts a lot more focus on inculcating diversity at every level.
The company has set specific targets for the percentage of women and university hires. For instance, this year, the goal is to hire 50 per cent women trainees among its freshers and similar targets in lateral hires.
Additionally, the company has programmes such as “She at MBRDI” that focuses on targeted hiring women for lateral positions. Furthermore, it also hires individuals with disabilities, which is another aspect of diversity at MBRDI. With the DE&I efforts, the company has already hired 26 people in this category (disability), and plans to hire an additional 30 to 35 in the coming months. These diversity goals apply to all roles and functions, regardless of the management level.
“We have established goals to promote diversity in our hiring practices, and in terms of diversity, we surpass industry standards. Diversity, sustainability and integrity form the foundation of our HR strategy, and we actively promote equal opportunities and a culture of appreciation,” concludes Medhekar.