There is a buzz about working here

Look around you: what is the nationality of your colleague next door? What kind of profile and education does he/she have? Thousands of people from all over Europe and with a variety of job profiles work in harmony and contribute to the success of the Organization.

The outside area of the CERN cafeteria as seen by the CERNland graphic artists. People meet here from all corners of CERN.

CERN is a physics Laboratory but, in order to be at the forefront of fundamental research and leading-edge technology, it needs the skills and expertise of people in a wide variety of different fields, from virtually all branches of engineering to information technology and administration. While the popularity of CERN in the physics community makes it very easy for the Recruitment Office to have a wide spectrum of high quality candidates in this field, it is not always obvious for other categories – such as engineers and technicians – to think of CERN as an appealing place to work. The newly created Recruitment Service in the HR-RPM Group already has some solutions to improve the Lab’s attractiveness. “There is a passion in all people working at CERN. We are not profit makers and we are all very proud of being here”, confirms James Purvis, Head of the Recruitment, Programmes and Monitoring Group (HR-RPM, see box). “However, if you look at the jobs and career webpage, it looks very dry and unattractive. We don’t sell this passion”.

The lack of candidates is particularly evident in engineering and computing (see graph) and this is the reason for concentrating the efforts on these fields. “We are not on the radars of young engineering graduates”, explains Purvis. “We speak in terms of Fellowship but this word simply doesn’t exist in their vocabulary”. And Lore Taillieu, newly appointed in the centralized recruitment function, adds: “I have been working on staff recruitment for the Technology Department. It has been a struggle to find technicians. If you look at the recruitment graphs for these categories, it’s extremely local. Even if you recruit international people, they often live in the local area. We don’t reach out far”.

Recruitment is becoming a marketing exercise. At CERN, the number of opportunities is growing fast. To encourage engineering applications, for example, the Directorate in collaboration with the HR Department has started the Graduate Engineering Training (GET) programme. “Thanks to GET, we will be able to conceive specific actions to target the required profiles. We will show them that CERN is a great place to come to: one can get fantastic training and work on leading edge technology. It’s a springboard for the career”, says Purvis.

Actions to improve the image of CERN in the jobs market include a website facelift , eye-catching posters to be sent to universities and an increased presence of CERN at recruitment fairs. “We don’t necessarily have to change the working conditions, we just have to share the passion of working here”, concludes Purvis. And this same concept is repeated on the webpage: It’s amazing what can happen when great minds come together.

The HR-RPM Group

Until December 2009, Staff recruitment was dealt with by the Human Resources Advisors (HRA) in each Department, whereas the student and fellows recruitment was centralized for all the Departments by the HR-RPM Group. As of 2010, recruitment for all the personnel categories (students, fellows, associates, staff) will be gradually centralized for the whole Laboratory by the HR-RPM Group.

Although you know your colleagues working next door, you might be less aware of what happens in Building 54, or 202, or elsewhere. The Bulletin is starting a new series of articles to show who works here, what they do and how. The series starts with an overview of job opportunities at CERN and continues with an interview with Youri Robert, the person who, among other things, could easily tell you whether or not your building is moving…

Would you like to be featured? Email and we’ll come and interview you!
Watch the video:

by CERN Bulletin