Kjell Hansson is unique within telecoms. His impressive 49 years in the industry have been spent with, or affiliated to, Ericsson. As the company’s longest-serving employee, he has witnessed many changes, including the birth of mobility and its evolution through the data revolution towards the Networked Society. He says Ericsson offers him as many opportunities now as it did when his career kicked off almost half a century ago.
At the other end of the scale, Alexander Danilin, 24, is just nine months into what he predicts will be a fruitful career with the company. He says Ericsson is an attractive company for young innovative professionals who are enthusiastic about transforming society through communications.
Danilin predicts that Ericsson’s increasing reputation as an information and communication technologies (ICT) player, vertical-industry partner, and innovator in a multimedia world will see it become an even bigger magnet for the best young talent.
His experience is shared by young people around the world as Ericsson continues to attract highly talented individuals in the 175 countries where we operate.
Hansson joined Ericsson via a vocational school run by telecoms and computer components manufacturer Standard Radio & Telefon. He was 15 years old and the year was 1962 – the same year that the Beatles first single was released in the UK; the Cuban Missile Crisis took place and the first James Bond movie was released.
His subsequent career development from laboratory assistant to telecoms engineer saw him working on products for the civil aviation and computing sectors.
As a member of the GSM project team in the late 1980s, he helped to develop products that were to become part of the birth of modern mobility – including the RBS 200, the first radio base station cabinet.
"Some people asked why we were spending money on GSM," Hansson says. "But that’s usually the case with new technology. You don’t realize the advantages until the technology is being used."
It could be argued that the same thinking is just as relevant today. Almost 25 years later, Hansson is still helping to break barriers in mobile technology. As a specialist working within Ericsson’s Enclosure Solution team, he helps to develop equipment for radio remote units on masts. The team produces connectors and cables for the entire company, including the cutting-edge RBS 6000 radio base station, which is revolutionizing next-generation data communication.
Hansson says his experience, age and length of service at Ericsson are respected by colleagues and management at the company.
"I’ve built an entire career at Ericsson," he says. "I’ve been loyal to the company and the company has been loyal to me. A lot happens in almost half a century. In retrospect, I now realize the fantastic developments I’ve worked with.
"The company has offered me many opportunities, and I’ve also had the privilege of working with good and helpful colleagues."
But Hansson’s Ericsson journey is not yet over. He intends to work until he is 65, by which time he will have spent more than 50 years with the company.
Hansson says he is happy to be a role model for younger employees at the company.
"We have an excellent and supportive learning culture at Ericsson, and I’m always very happy to pass on knowledge and advice to those who are just starting out at the company," he says.
"As a specialist, it’s also part of my job to give as much help and advice as possible to colleagues. It’s a part of my job that I really enjoy, and I think those receiving the advice also enjoy it. It’s really good to pass on the torch."
Meanwhile, Russian-born Danilin, who holds MSc and MBA degrees, has yet to complete his first year of employment at Ericsson.
He has been employed at the company’s Multimedia business unit since June 2010 under the Multimedia Talent Attraction Program.
"Ericsson is really changing by the minute," he says. "Of course we have the traditional expertise we’ve always had, but the company is also heading in an exciting direction in terms of the developments in how the world communicates with and consumes multimedia content.
"Ericsson is playing a central role in that. It’s a very attractive opportunity for any young telecom, business or ICT professional to be able to play a part in that transition and make a real difference to how we’re all connected or communicate."
Danilin says the ways of working at Ericsson are also appealing, with many opportunities for new employees to learn and develop professionally.
"I really like the approach to work," he says. "We’re all expected to find the thing to which we can contribute the most. This is excellent for creative thinking and innovation. I call it freedom with responsibility.
"I think the way Ericsson is changing, especially in relation to multimedia services, will attract lots of young professionals, just as it attracted me."