As General Manager of MediaTek Bangalore and Director of the Advanced Technology team, Rituparna Mandal is responsible for foundation IP and advanced CPU designs across MediaTek products. She is the founder of Immensa Semiconductors that created a foundation IP portfolio in leading-edge technologies across top foundries, as well as worked with several Tier-1 companies to develop custom IP for them before the company was acquired by MediaTek. In an interaction with Dataquest, she talks about its hiring strategy for R&D engineers, the technology focus areas, the company’s approach to nurturing talent, and what T-Schools should do to make courses more relevant for the industry. Excerpts:
By Shubhendu Parth
DQ: MediaTek has been focusing on acquiring home-grown talent and has over 700 R&D engineers in India. What is the company’s hiring philosophy and strategy?
Rituparna Mandal: We are consistently working towards the vision of democratising technology and making great technology available to everyone. In our quest to create innovative technology, we are always looking for talented people to work in our corporate offices around the world. We offer competitive salaries, a range of benefits and personalised programs for professional development. Our aim is to hire managerial and technical leaders who can help us make a quantum leap in innovation and enable us to achieve our revenue targets.
DQ: What is the company’s expansion plan in India in terms of talent acquisition?
Our aim is to hire managerial and technical leaders who can help us make a quantum leap in innovation and enable us to achieve our revenue targets.
Rituparna Mandal: We have expanded our approach to recruiting talent by formulating annual talent plans in accordance with our operational strategies. We also acquire new employees through the talent application systems on our corporate website which offers applicants a user-friendly interface and processes so as to increase the convenience of job applications. Additionally, we recruit talent through job banks, participation in major recruitment events, and employee referrals. We also actively collaborate with key schools, and our accumulated investment in industry-academia collaboration up to now has surpassed 1.2 billion NTD. By 2021, we plan to hire a significant number of engineers to solidify our position as market leaders in the semiconductor industry.
DQ: What technology areas are you focusing on in terms of hiring talents in India? What is the average percentage of fresh T-School graduates that the company hires?
Rituparna Mandal: To continue the optimisation of MediaTek’s talent structure, we not only focus on indicators for new hires and employee turnover, but also pay close attention to the number of applications per job, offer-to-acceptance rates, and development and retention of new hires. We hope we can continue to attract the best individuals, from a highly competitive talent market, to work with us, by adopting methods such as our Care System for new hires and exit interviews. In 2020, we hired 1,769 new employees worldwide. Of those, around 70% were younger than 30 years; we believe that a talent structure skewed in favor of the younger generation can bring more insights and momentum into our diversified products and innovations.
DQ: Since the company is working on cutting-edge technologies to meet the changing industry demand, are you happy with the quality of talent in India? What does the country need to do to make technical education more industry-oriented?
Rituparna Mandal: India holds an important place as a market for MediaTek and also in terms of the underlying talent pool. We have about 650 people engaged in R&D in India and are looking at growing it further. MediaTek, a key partner to the country’s growth story, is taking its commitment to support domestic innovation, smartphone design, and production a step further by offering expertise, fostering the development of talent, and building closer partnerships with Indian companies. Our aim is to create new, India-designed products for the indigenous market. The experience employees gain in the classroom and on-location at MediaTek’s Taiwan headquarters continues to pay dividends for handset design engineers in India and we feel this is one way in which the country can prepare its technical students for industry participation. Creating opportunities for tie-ups between educational institutes and the industry can go a long way in fostering ambition and skills in the students.
DQ: The company prides itself on having among the highest employee retention in the industry. What is MediaTek’s approach to nurturing talent and motivating them for the long haul?
Rituparna Mandal: In order to help our new employees adapt to our work environment and thereby increase the retention rate, we established a ‘Care System for new hires’ in 2009. Our system automatically sends out an Adaptation Survey and Feedback Survey for new hires – both five-point scale surveys – on the seventh day and 30th day after new hires have reported for work. The completion rate of the survey has remained around 85%. Employees who have passed their probation periods must also fill out the ‘completion of probation period survey’. We have also established a ‘buddy system’ where we designate employees from appropriate departments to serve as ‘buddies’ for new hires and help them adapt to their work.
We believe a talent structure skewed in favour of the younger generation can bring more insights and momentum into our diversified products and innovations.
The results of the Adaptation Survey for new hires are shared with buddies. Besides, if the results of the Feedback Survey for new hires are not in line with our expectations, psychologists at the Employee Relationship department take the initiative in providing required care and guidance.
DQ: In the post-pandemic WFH era, the people management focus has shifted to health and well-being and workplace transformation. How are you dealing with it?
Rituparna Mandal: MediaTek values employee experiences and strives to help each employee enjoy their work. Employees derive positive experiences from different things, so we are active in communicating with our employees as we seek to understand their motivations through a variety of channels. We provide benefits that exceed legal compliance requirements and aim to take care of the physical and mental health, and work-life balance of our colleagues. We have established an inclusive workplace that allows each employee to fully shine and grow on the international stage.
DQ: What new role do you see mentors, recruiters, and instructors playing as the world moves closer to humans in the human-in-the-loop era driven by AI- and ML-based platforms?
Rituparna Mandal: MediaTek plans to collaborate with Indian software companies to develop AI-based applications which would be in high demand with the adoption of emerging 5G technologies. Next-generation technologies like AI and machine learning help devices customise on their own as per the habit or usage pattern of customers. MediaTek is now expanding its India business in segments such as telecom networks, the internet of things, and consumer electronics, and will set up labs and other resources to foster research and development jobs. Mentors, recruiters, and instructors will play a major role in the hybrid new normal and we aim to be at the forefront of the upcoming transition.
General Manager, MediaTek