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EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY. Alternative Career Paths for Technical Specialists. Paolo Donzelli ESTEC HR Division Den Haag 27 November 2008.

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Paolo donzelli estec hr division den haag 27 november 2008

EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY

Alternative Career Paths for Technical Specialists

Paolo Donzelli

ESTEC HR Division

Den Haag

27 November 2008


Purpose of esa

To provide for and promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European states in space research and technology and their space applications.”

PURPOSE OF ESA

  • Article 2 of

  • ESA Convention


Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Canada takes part in some projects under a cooperation agreement.

Hungary, Romania and Poland are European Cooperating States.

Estonia and Slovenia have recently signed cooperation agreements with ESA.

18 MEMBER STATES


Space science

Human spaceflight

Exploration

Earth observation

Launchers

Navigation

Telecommunications

Technology

Operations

ACTIVITIES

ESA is one of the few space agencies in the world to combine responsibility in all areas of space activity.


ESA’S LOCATIONS

EAC (Cologne)

ESTEC

(Noordwijk)

Establishments & Centres

Brussels

ESOC

(Darmstadt)

ESA HQ

(Paris)

Offices

Toulouse

ESRIN

(Frascati)

ESAC

(Villafranca)

Moscow

Washington

Kourou

Houston


Over 30 years of experience

18 Member States

Four establishments, 2043 staff

3 000 million Euros budget (2008)

Over 60 satellites designed and

tested

14 scientific satellites in operation

Five types of launcher developed

More than 180 launches made

ESA FACTS AND FIGURES


ESA STAFF FIGURES

  • 2000+

  • Grade Structure from Coordinated Organisations (like NATO)

  • 20% Administrative (B1 to B6)

  • 10% Management (A5, A6 and Hors Class)

  • 70 % Professionals (A2 to A4):

    • 15% Business Support (HR, Finance, Legal, Procurement, IT,...)

    • 10% Scientists

    • 45% Engineers

  • Contract Policy: 4Y + 6Y + Indefinite



Technical career at esa the past
TECHNICAL CAREER AT ESA (THE PAST)

FROM A2 TO A4: PROGRESSION BY PROMOTION

FROM A4 TO A5, A5 TO A6: PROGRESSION BY VACANCY NOTICE


Problems
PROBLEMS

  • ESA success is based on its technical competences but it could not reward and promote its best technical staff

  • Good scientists and engineers were left without career perspectives for their last 10/15 years at ESA

  • Good technical staff are not, by default, good managers (especially when they become managers but they want to keep technical and operational roles)


Solution a new schema for a5 ad personam
SOLUTION: A new schema for A5 ad personam

FROM A2 TO A4: PROGRESSION BY PROMOTION

FROM A4 TO A5: BY APPLYING FOR AN A5 AD PERSONAM

FROM A4 TO A5, A5 TO A6: PROGRESSION BY VACANCY NOTICE


Objectives
OBJECTIVES

  • Extend the career opportunities for high qualified professionals in the ESA core businesses: space science and space engineering

  • Rewards continuous outstanding results

  • Reinforce the technical and scientific culture of ESA

  • Set up a network of experts, visible and recognized through the organization, able to disseminate knowledge and passion for Space


Principles
PRINCIPLES

  • The promotion from A4 to the grade A5 ad personam is based on the PERSONAL competences and skills of the staff. When promoted the staff member maintains the current functions. The grade is linked to the staff member.

  • The promotion from A4 to A5 by applying to an open Vacancy Notice is based on the responsibilities of the new job. The grade is linked to the post.


Process
PROCESS

  • Scheme approved in 2001 by ESA Governing Bodies: Max of 30 A5 AP positions for all ESA

  • In 2001 and 2002 selection by the top (directors). It did not work: heterogeneous and wrong profiles selected and no consistency in the selection.

  • Targeting only Technical and Scientific Staff at A4 grade

  • Selection Campaign usually every other year (subject to 30 post cap, replacement of A5 AP retiring)

  • As from 2006 new bottom-up scheme: All A4 staff may apply providing CV, list of publications and references

  • HR and a board of four (kept anonymous) senior reviewers, selected for integrity and competence, evaluate the applicants by objective criteria and rank them

  • The first 15 ranked applicants are short-listed for the final interview with a selection board composed of ESA directors and HR

  • 10 are finally selected and appointed by the ESA Director General

  • Appointed staff retain their present functions but are required to contribute to the exchange of knowledge inside/outside ESA through lectures and courses in their domains of competence


Selection criteria
SELECTION CRITERIA

  • Internal recognition

    • Participation to Technical Reviews and Boards

  • External recognition

    • Publication in internationally recognized Technical and Scientific Journals

    • Membership of Professional Associations

  • Past contribution to ESA activities and projects

    • Patents

    • Demonstrated contribution to the solutions to complex technical issues

  • Potential future contribution to ESA activities and projects



Lessons learned
LESSONS LEARNED

  • Keep the bottom-up approach: all senior professionals staff may apply and have a chance through open and fair competition

  • Strength the internal recognition criteria over the external ones (scientists publish papers on Nature, engineers write technical notes nobody reads...)

  • Rotate the reviewers in charge of ranking the candidates to maintain variation in the selection process

  • Keep top management away until the final decision has been made (to avoid influence)

  • Don’t be afraid of diversity: experts are good for the organization as they are all different

  • Be fair and transparent through the whole process and debrief applicants at anytime



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