“Basque Country is waiting for your talent”

by Alex Sevilla

This year marks the 10th anniversary of bizkaia:talent, the association promoted by the Department of Economic Promotion of the Government of the Basque historic Province of Biscay to attract, retain and engage talent for Basque historic territory of Biscay – Basque Country.

To talk about the work carried out so far and about their next projects, we interviewes its managing director, Ivan Jimenez.

Before we start, zorionak, congratulations on the anniversary. How do you feel this year which marks the 10th anniversary of bizkaia:talent?

Ivan Jimenez.- Very proud to participate in this exciting project which can make such a great contribution to our country, to the Basque Country.

The mission of bizkaia:talent is to manage talent in Bilbao – Basque historic territory of Biscay-Basque Country. What initiatives or actions are being developed to that end?

We work on three main focuses and we have different services for each of them. These focuses are attracting, engaging and retaining talent for Basque historic territory of Biscay – Basque Country.

We have an aid programme for companies in Basque historic territory of Biscay to hire researchers, an to establishment of international networks with other organizations working in the smart management of talent and we also attend international fairs and meetings representing not only the companies which seek to attract highly-qualified staff but the country itself.

We also work with young university students in order to develop the skills sought by organizations and thus help them to have professional opportunities in our country.

What are the main challenges faced by bizkaia:talent to attract, retain and engage talent?

First of all, making ourselves known in the world, since we are in a competition in which not only countries but also metropolitan areas are competing globally in search of the best professionals. This would enable us to enter the international circuit of talent movement.

Tell us about talent engagement. Why is it so important?

Nowadays, to work with the best professionals, it is no longer necessary for them to be physically present in the places or companies with which they collaborate.

In this regard, we understand engagement as the collaboration between professionals situated in any part of the world with companies and organizations from the Basque Country, that is, from our own country.

Ivan Jimenez

Ivan Jimenez, managing director of bizkaia:talent

In your opinion, what is the main difference between a country like yours, which cares for and tries to retain and attract talent, and a country which does not?

I would establish two categories: Countries which, due to their being rich in raw materials, are able to develop through the commercialization thereof.

In these countries, in general, they are not working on the smart management of talent as much as we are doing in other countries, that is, those in the other category, where the raw materials are the people and our prosperity depends on developing their potential.

As for the engagement of talent, I suppose that Basque talent itself is one of the potential targets for your activities?

Yes, indeed. We arrange meetings with Basque professionals all over the world, since this is one of the major challenges, due to the large number of possible contacts for other Basque professionals and organizations we achieve. They may be companies, institutions, bilateral organizations, NGOs, etc.

Moreover, as a result of the meetings with these Basque people and with professionals who have had or want to have a professional experience with the Basque Country we have created the BE BASQUE TALENT NETWORK.

Tell us about the Be Basque Talent Network. What are its objectives?

It aims to be a free access platform to be used as a meeting place for any professional, irrespective of their territorial origin, with other Basque professionals and organizations. In fact, it will have four main services: employment offers in the Basque Country, information about our country (culture, economy and leisure), a discussion forum and the main service, the Basque Talent Map, where we can connect with professionals depending on their geographical location, occupational sector and other criteria such as their territorial origin.

Through this tool we are able to connect people with each other and with other companies or organizations.

What is the main challenge faced by bizkaia:talent in the near future?

Attracting talent. The demographical changes we have undergone in recent decades are starting to have consequences, since, strangely enough, in spite of having one of the highest rates of population with tertiary education in the world, in the coming years we will need to import talent if we want to continue being a competitive country.

When faced with this challenge, what tools does the Basque Country have?

Places compete in two areas to be attractive, the strictly professional and that related to leisure and/or family.

With regard to the first, the Basque Country has a Science, Technology and Innovation network widely recognized by all the European institutions as an example to be followed.

As for the second area, leisure, free time and family, the Basque Country stands out in all the indicators on quality of life as well as life expectancy, health, safety, etc.

Moreover, Basque people claim to be part of one of the happiest societies in the world, according to the criteria of the OECD, and Basque workers are considered to be the ones with the highest job satisfaction in the world, according to the Randstat Work Monitor.

What are the hiring expectations in the Basque Country by areas of knowledge?

A distinction must be made by areas of knowledge in engineering. Companies are having problems finding certain profiles, and the same is happening with ICTs and healthcare. In social areas, there is still a talent offer above the existing demand, although they tend to converge in the medium term.

What do companies ask for when they offer a job that requires high qualification?

People with international work experience who are able to manage in different places with different cultures and who, in addition to technical knowledge, have developed more transversal skills.

A message for those highly-qualified people who are reading your interview.

As we say in one of our videos “Basque Country is waiting for you”. I think they should take this opportunity to join and/or collaborate with one a country which, while having one of the oldest cultures and languages in the world, has become a leader in the competitiveness, innovation and wellbeing of its citizens.


Alex Sevilla is a journalist

About the Author

Iñaki Galdos Irazabal
Iñaki Galdos Irazabal is editor at Basque Tribune. E-Mail | @inakigaldosira

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