Two scientists working at the R&D centre in Norway

Investing in a multicultural workforce

Hiring people from all over the world can yield positive results in more ways than one. Saying yes to diversity means “we often arrive at better solutions, faster” says the R&D Director.

As the world is getting smaller, we open up for new possibilities to work and collaborate anywhere in the world. Companies are opening their eyes to diversity and inclusion, with the benefit of gaining perspectives from a greater selection of cultures and backgrounds.

But what are the upsides of hiring with diversity in mind? According to Jotun’s Global R&D Director of Fouling Protection, Christer Opstad, whose team consists of specialists from 11 different nationalities and a bouquet of top universities internationally, the benefits are many.

“By expanding our recruiting efforts to universities outside of Scandinavia, not only are we able to attract the brightest talent. A truly international team also helps to accelerate product development. While we don’t always agree on the best path forward, we challenge each other to arrive at better solutions faster,” says Opstad.

“Science is an international language, where each member of the team brings a local perspective,” he adds.

Unified by the greater goal

Senior R&D Chemist Aslan Esmurziew studied at the Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis in Moscow. He relocated to Norway for his doctorate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, before joining Jotun at the headquarters in Sandefjord.

“What makes our team unique is how we’re able to work seamlessly with engineers, data analysts, experts in hydrodynamics, technicians and specialists representing different branches of chemistry. At the same time, our cultural diversity adds a lot. We’re a mix of unique people, all working towards a common goal.”

Esmurziew, who recently celebrated ten years in the company, adds that in his view, “respect and loyalty are the essential components of a successful multicultural workplace, and employees are more likely to remain loyal when they feel respected for what they add”.

“We always reach a consensus!”

Anna Szczotok-Piechaczek joined the anti-fouling team in 2018, after earning her PhD at the University of Castilla La-Mancha in Spain. In her experience, working in diverse teams helps generate fresh takes on problem-solving.

“When we discuss an issue, my co-workers can come up with ideas that would never occur to me. I guess I challenge them, too. Oftentimes we end up with too many opinions, but we always reach a consensus!”

Global R&D Director Opstad says that as a global and multinational company, Jotun is increasingly recognising the value of recruiting personnel of different backgrounds.

“As a global company with a network of regional R&D laboratories, Jotun has a lot of positive experience with scientists with degrees from different institutions,” he says.

“By recruiting an international team here in Sandefjord, we can bring some of that energy to fouling protection. Not only does this strengthen our core competence. A global perspective is necessary to create a better tomorrow.”

Curious about working at Jotun? Check out our careers page!

Employees photographed in the main stairway in Jotun's HQ in Nrway

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