Worth to follow

Much better self-esteem among young people

UNIside | 2022-10-18
The HR Director of Praktiker says that young people today are more self-aware and take better care of their mental health. "I admire their creativity, they even ask questions in a different way. It's good to work with them," said Katalin Márton, in the summer issue of UNI 2022.

What previously unused measures are being, or have been made, related to the pandemic, and what impact have they had, or are they having, on new entrants to the profession?

Based on our experience, young employees of today do not require personal presence, at least not as much as the older generation. 

What else do you think about young people in general?

They see a company that does not offer flexible working hours and home office as uncompetitive in today’s world. For them, working in a wider, globalised space comes naturally. They do not mind if they do not know their supervisor in person, they are comfortable with online contact. 

On the one hand, I understand this, and I think we need to open in this direction, because we need their problem-solving skills, for example. If they really insist that we work online this much, then we have to go along with that in order to get them to work with us.

They work in a totally different way, and it’s fantastic to see how differently they think. They don’t look up to me because I’m the HR Director, but because if I’m curious about their insights or support their professional development, they can learn from me, and the two together lead to fantastic results.

I admire their creativity, they even ask questions in a different way. It is a pleasure to work with them. I also appreciate the fact that the younger generation has a much better self-esteem and is more committed to work-life balance: they attend guitar lessons or exercise after working hours and don’t work overtime as much as it was ‘trendy’ when the multinationals first came to Hungary. 

Photo: Móricz Sabján Simon

What do you expect from people who join the company, i.e. what are the basic expectations in terms of skills and knowledge within the profession? What type of young people do you think this career is for?

Praktiker is a chain of offline stores and we work in areas that require the presence of an expert retailer in the store. They are required to touch a tile and chat to the salesperson about the latest lighting trends, devices and applications. However, in order to do this, you need to be in the store, so our store manager trainee programme, for example, cannot be done online. 

It is important that innovative solutions and methods that require data-driven decision making are also emerging in retail, which can be attractive to young colleagues.

We can also bring our own strategy, vision and creative ideas into everyday life since Praktiker is not a foreign-owned multinational company, and we are the ones who invent, drive processes and implement. Our company will have been present in Hungary for 25 years next year, so we have a history and something to build on.

Are you experiencing labour shortage? How are you filling open positions?

I see a shortage of both graduates and young people starting their careers, and the labour market is absorbing fresh graduates with analytical skills and a focus on data analysis. They are the ones most missing from the labour market.

What do you think about the role of employer branding?

I think that the image of the organisation that is communicated to the outside world needs to be authentic, and we are working on that a lot. Our most important brand ambassadors are our employees who are here, but even more important are those who leave us.


Katalin Márton, HR and CSR Director of Praktiker – 47 years old, mother of three children (7, 10 and 12 years old) 

  • She graduated from the University of Szeged in 1997 with a degree in HR Management and completed interior stylist training in the Werk Akademie in 2013.
  • She started her career as an HR manager at Praktiker and after three years she joined a telecommunications company as an international HR manager. After that, she worked as a HR Manager at Posta Biztosító for four years.
  • She worked as the Head of HR at Saint-Gobain from 2006 to 2013, and after a period as HR specialist at MVM, she was appointed HR and CSR Director at Praktiker in January 2018.