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Qian Wang completed a master’s degree in business administration at Soochow University in China. Since 2015, she has worked at Schaeffler in Herzogenaurach as Vice President Supply Chain Management in the Engine Systems business division.


International Work Environment in Herzogenaurach

Qian Wang Vice President Supply Chain Management

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In a globalized world, diversity and internationality are true factors for success. They make companies more innovative and help them attract new talents. That’s why Schaeffler actively encourages international exchange among its employees and supports them in moving from one location to another. Qian Wang came to our company headquarters in Herzogenaurach from China – an assignment full of contrasts.


From Taicang, near the metropolis Shanghai, to quiet Herzogenaurach. Romantic Bavarian timbered houses instead of skyscrapers. A population of 23,000 instead of 24 million. Yet Qian Wang didn’t take long to decide when the opportunity presented itself to go to Germany for a number of years. “I was confident that it would work out well,” Wang says. As Vice President Supply Chain Management in the Engine Systems business division, she supervises 17 employees. She quickly felt at home in Germany. “My new superiors supported me from the start and organized meetings with other international colleagues. That was really valuable, since it allowed us to network among ourselves and exchange experiences,” the forty-year-old says. The website of the international network in the company intranet, “Schaeffler CONNECT,” was also helpful to Wang for getting settled in Herzogenaurach and getting to know other expats.

Qian Wang at the team meeting in special machine construction at the Erlangen-Frauenaurach site, where Schaeffler’s “New Work” concept has already been implemented.

For Schaeffler, the advantages of having a diverse workforce are obvious. International employees bring different perspectives and approaches to solving problems to the company and support a management culture based on participation. And what’s more: Many of the company’s customers are internationally oriented. Having wide among our employees facilitates access to these global players and helps us find new markets. Schaeffler profits from the different experiences and diverse knowledge of its employees when it comes to innovation, as well. Studies show that mixed teams are more innovative and successful than homogeneous ones.

Diversity at Schaeffler (as of Dec. 31, 2017)

(Click on the regions)

area2 area1 area3 area4 area1 area2 area3 area4

Number of employees: 13,056


Proportion of women


Proportion of women in management


Number of expat assignments to the region


Number of expat assignments from the region

Number of employees: 61,554


Proportion of women


Proportion of women in management


Number of expat assignments to the region


Number of expat assignments from the region

Number of employees: 12.537


Proportion of women


Proportion of women in management


Number of expat assignments to the region


Number of expat assignments from the region

Number of employees: 3,004


Proportion of women


Proportion of women in management


Number of expat assignments to the region


Number of expat assignments from the region

In 2017, a total of 369 employees took advantage of the possibility, as Qian Wang did, to go abroad for up to five years. Whether an employee is posted abroad depends on their technical expertise, their personal interests, and the needs of each respective department. Expats who come to Germany are supported by our Talent Mobility Europe Team, made up of employees from our human resources department who personally advise and support the and any family members who have come along. This includes, for example, applying for residency and work permits, or finding suitable accommodations and schools for the children.

A Change in Perspective

For Qian Wang, Schaeffler is familiar terrain. She has been working for the company for more than 15 years at the Chinese Taicang site, which is located about 60 kilometers from the heart of the Shanghai megalopolis. It’s a hotspot for German companies. In addition to Schaeffler, around 180 other companies have settled in Taicang. And with them, many Germans. “Even before my time in Herzogenaurach, I visited Germany many times and had many German colleagues in China,” Wang says. What she hopes to get from her time in Bavaria is, above all, a fresh perspective and a new way of looking at both her field and the company where she has worked for so long. What does she find especially unique about her German colleagues? “Germans are always very thorough and consistent,” she says with a grin.

The Schaeffler Group’s “New Work” concept: Open office workspaces and modular room concepts – such as multifunctional rooms, think tanks, or “gravity points” that allow employees to have conversations in a relaxed atmosphere – raise the employees’ potential for creativity and motivation.

Maybe that’s why Wang was able to win over her colleagues with her clear agenda. “In the first months, I mostly listened and tried to gain the trust of the team. Of course they all didn’t know me yet, and they wanted to know how I think and what my plan is for the next few years.” Later, Wang presented her vision to the team, with concrete projects and goals. That was the cornerstone for the good, trusting cooperation in the team. Looking back, she says, “My advantage is that we Chinese are very flexible and tolerant and, if necessary, always have a plan B. Germans and Chinese people complement each other excellently – that’s what I’ve learned from my experience.”

It’s been three years since Qian Wang came to Herzogenaurach. Her advice to colleagues interested in working abroad is to make sure they have the support of their own family. “That’s the basic prerequisite.” Also important: flexibility and the desire for a challenge. “If you’re afraid of new things, you’ll have a hard time abroad.” For Wang, her time in Germany has absolutely been a valuable experience – and one that she will talk about for a long time.

Live diversity.

Diversity can relate to many things, including sex, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, lifestyle.
Shortened form of expatriate; typically denotes a skilled employee who is temporarily sent by an internationally active company for whom they work to a foreign branch office.