• Madrid Investment Attraction

Lucía García (LHH): “We have shared objectives with investment attraction agencies”

Lucía García is the Director of the Reindustrialization area at LHH, the Adecco division specializing in transformation processes, talent development, and career management. The multinational specializes in restructuring processes, including outplacement and reindustrialization plans. In the latter case, they mitigate the impact of a factory closure by making this asset available to one or more new investors, linking the transaction conditions to job creation commitments.

In this interview, Mrs. García explains what these projects entail and sends a clear message: “Over the past years, we have seen that the regions that have prioritized industry are the ones that have better weathered crises,” she says.

M.I.A.: First, could you briefly explain what LHH is and how it fits within the structure of Adecco?
Lucía García: LHH is a multinational within the Adecco Group, headquartered in Switzerland. Adecco is a leading talent management group with over 35,000 employees worldwide. LHH operates in more than sixty countries across all continents (Europe, North America, Australia, Asia, Latin America, and Africa). In Spain, LHH has about 400 professionals with offices in nearly all provinces, with the most representative ones in Madrid and Barcelona.

M.I.A.: What departments are there? Which are the most important areas?

L.G.: Within LHH, there are three activity areas. LHH Career Transition & Mobility, where we lead organizations through change and transformation processes, including restructuring, reindustrialization, and outplacement. LHH Recruitment Solutions focuses on finding and selecting people for organizations. And LHH Leadership Development offers solutions for culture and leadership, talent diagnostics and assessment, leadership and team development, and coaching.

Thus, we support our clients’ needs at different stages of the talent cycle, from hiring to leadership development and professional transition.

M.I.A: What kind of clients do you work with?

L.G.: We work with any type of company across the entire national territory, regardless of size and sector. In Madrid, over the past year, we have been very active in the banking, insurance, and technology sectors. The industrial sector also stands out, especially in regions with a higher manufacturing weight.According to our 2023 Annual Outplacement Report, the highest concentration of participants in outplacement programs, for the second consecutive year, was in the Community of Madrid, with 34%.


M.I.A.: What restructuring measures do you undertake when a company closes? What plans do you implement to mitigate the impact on workers and the territory?

 L.G: Outplacement programs effectively minimize the social impact of business restructurings by facilitating the re-employment and improving the employability of affected workers. Additionally, more and more companies offer outplacement programs for individual layoffs within the company’s off-boarding plan, which are equally effective and enhance the reputation of the companies that offer them.

When restructuring also involves the closure of a production plant, we implement a Reindustrialization Plan to mitigate the impact in terms of employment and economic activity on the affected territory. The closure of a plant not only affects the company and its employees but also impacts other businesses like suppliers and their workers (indirect and induced employment).

What do we do? We develop outplacement and reindustrialization programs simultaneously, working to find a solution for 100% of the people affected by the closure, either through outplacement or reindustrialization.

How do we do it? To give a second life to the soon-to-be-vacant industrial facility, we look for growing companies in the industrial or logistics sector seeking a new location for their expansion plans. The facilities we offer these expanding companies are in excellent condition and come equipped with basic amenities that can be reused, such as overhead cranes, refrigeration units, compressed air systems, and treatment stations. Moreover, we provide these companies with the pool of highly qualified workers who previously worked there, which is a significant attraction. During the prospecting process, when we identify companies in expansion mode, we offer them the facilities and the workforce, and we assist them in deciding on the most suitable location for their project. In this way, we attract new investment projects that generate employment in the territory and achieve our outplacement and reindustrialization objectives.

M.I.A.: How many such projects do you carry out each year?

L.G.: According to our outplacement report, in 2023, we assisted over 12,000 individuals in their professional transition processes. For reindustrialization, we typically handle six to eight projects annually across Spain, covering a range of industrial sectors including automotive, energy, food, capital goods, and chemicals.

M.I.A.: How do you measure success rates? How long do these processes usually take?

L.G.: For outplacement, the success rate is measured by the number of people who secure a new job, either as employees or self-employed. In 2023, 69% of participants in an outplacement program found a job within six months, and 28% between the seventh and twelfth month, meaning 97% found a new job within a year. The average outplacement time through LHH last year was 5.4 months.

In reindustrialization, success occurs when we identify a new company that takes over the factory to implement a new job-generating project. Over the past four years, we have had a 100% success rate. These projects typically last between 12 and 18 months on average; however, some projects have concluded sooner, such as the reindustrialization of Danone in Salas (Asturias) last year, which took ten months.

M.I.A.: Which sectors are more dynamic and have greater agility in reemployment?

L.G.: It depends on the location. Even within the Community of Madrid, there are very industrialized areas, such as the Henares Corridor, and more service-oriented areas, like the capital’s city center. However, the technology sector shows more dynamism or ease of reemployment, as these roles are highly demanded. The service, tourism, hospitality, and health sectors (including pharmaceuticals) are also notable.

M.I.A.: How would you describe the talent in Madrid? What does Madrid offer to companies in this regard? Is there any deficit?

L.G.: Madrid is a place where it is easy to attract talent. The city and its metropolitan area concentrates around 25% of all national companies, creating more opportunities for talent acquisition. Additionally, Madrid’s strategic location is particularly beneficial for companies with headquarters in other provinces. However, this also increases competition for attracting the best talent, making business policies related to employee experience increasingly important. Many companies in the region, aware of the significance of attracting and retaining talent, are incorporating elements such as emotional salary, social benefits, and work flexibility.

Regarding deficits, in recent years, we have seen a growing demand for technological roles that is difficult to meet. In this context, the unique value that the hiring company offers to the employee becomes crucial, which includes effective onboarding and offboarding processes as well as active listening initiatives.
M.I.A.: Does LHH work with administrations?

L.G.: Yes, we work with public administrations on outplacement and reindustrialization projects. In the first case, we mainly collaborate with regional public employment services and, in some cases, with the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy

We also develop public projects related to talent, employment, and leadership with international organizations such as the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) and the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank).

In reindustrialization, we work with local, regional, and state administrations related to industry, promoting public-private collaboration. We also work with investment attraction agencies. Our goal is to find expanding companies to give a second life to these facilities, and therefore, we must highlight the attractiveness of these facilities and their location compared to other options they may find both in Spain and abroad. We have a common goal.

M.I.A.: What characteristics do you think the administration should emphasize to attract more foreign companies to Madrid? And to attract more talent?

L.G.: It is clear that Madrid has national and international recognition that facilitates talent attraction. It is the leading region in attracting foreign capital in Spain. Consequently, many companies want to be here. Madrid is dynamic, multicultural, and attractive in terms of talent. It has universities and national and international reference centers.

However, it is important to emphasize the significant role of industry. If anything, the recent crises related to the pandemic, the war, and the supply of components have shown that territories that have prioritized industry have been more resilient. It is crucial to invest in industry to provide the local ecosystem with greater resilience. The challenges facing the industry in our country to advance in its transformation are multiple and encompass increasing competitiveness and internationalization, investing in R&D and new technologies, and training human capital.