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Trafigura targets growth and diversity in new recruitment drive

Following a successful year in which Trafigura reported record profit, turnover and volumes traded, the leading independent physical trading and logistics company will launch a new recruitment campaign this month (January 2022), to grow its commercial teams across all of its trading books.  This year, the focus is not only on growing the team, it’s also on recruiting more women: according to a 2016 study by the World Economic Forum, Energy employs one of the lowest industry shares of women, at just 19 percent.

“We are open to applications from all backgrounds and levels of experience, but we are particularly interested in applications from women,” says Hannah Hauman, Trafigura’s Global Head of Carbon Trading, who has helped the company build a number of businesses across oil and more recently in carbon markets over the past six years. “Diversity for us is really a competitive edge – specifically diversity of thought and ideas on the trading desks. This can appear as variety in nationalities, personality types and educational backgrounds, but in particular the industry remains notoriously under-represented by women, and for the right individuals the opportunities are there.”

Trafigura means business: in recent hire pushes, women have accounted for only 12 percent of applicants but 20 percent of successful candidates.

Founded in 1993, the firm wants smart, entrepreneurial and hard-working people who may not necessarily come from a trading background or are trading at present. The company is open to any suitable candidate who is looking for an evolution to their careers and already living in or willing to relocate to the firm’s Geneva European hub, or its offices in Calgary, Houston, Johannesburg, Mexico, Montevideo, Shanghai and Singapore.

“We would consider traders in banking or finance who are looking to make a move to physical trading, or those already trading physical products looking to take a step up to a more entrepreneurial environment with greater opportunities,” Hauman says.

The hiring need comes as the company has grown over the past years: revenues have increased to USD231.3 billion in the full-year to Sept. 2021, up from USD171.5 billion in 2019 and USD18 billion in 2004. Employee count has almost doubled to 9,031 over the past three years, according to the firm’s latest annual report. Growth has been fuelled by a strategic focus on core products, mainly the supply and transport of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, refined metals, ferrous and non-ferrous ores and bulk commodities.

Trafigura also sees growth ahead, especially as companies and governments around the world aim to reach net-zero carbon targets. This will increase demand for transition metals such as copper, nickel, zinc and cobalt, in which Trafigura is also a leader, and cleaner energy sources, while reducing appetite for the most polluting fuels, such as oil and coal, increasing market volatility.

“Volatility brings both opportunity and challenge,” Hauman says. “Traditional supply chains are being challenged as we move to greener energy sources – this impacts every commodity but introduces exceptional volatility into energy markets.”

Volatility may become the hallmark of the Energy Transition phase: “Energy sources won’t change overnight,” Hauman warns: “It would be naïve to believe that we can live in a net-zero world tomorrow. Across the various markets, we see participants and stakeholders enthusiastic for the changes required, and capital is not the issue, but at times the scalability of technology and regulatory support for these measures continue to lag. The Energy Transition is very achievable, but in the short term we will need fossil fuels to help us maintain energy security that the world has grown accustomed to.”

The company, one of the largest physical commodities trading and logistics groups in the world, makes its money from sourcing physical commodities from where they are plentiful and supplying them to where they are needed most, reducing supply and demand inefficiencies -  a low profit margin, highly physical business relative to more financially-driven, fast-paced trades.

At Trafigura, traders don’t spend their days glued to their screens. While some traders may be more quant-type and be indeed surrounded by spreadsheets and coding pages, others focus on building strategies and client relationships, spending a lot of their time travelling to see customers and suppliers.  
At the end of the day, Trafigura’s business is global and complex, so it can’t be all done from a desktop: just imagine that a diesel cargo originating in India will travel over 60 days, undergoing several transfers from vessels to shore tanks, to progressively smaller barges and across multiple international borders to delivery to an end consumer in landlocked Bolivia – all of which has to happen on time, on specification, and with first class safety standards. From its 84 offices in 48 countries around the world, the company moves vital commodities to enable every day supply chains for a wide range of clients which may include a government for power generation, a French supermarket chain for fleet consumption or an Asian or U.S. car maker for vehicle manufacturing.

“We are about people, not screens,” Hauman says. “Our lifeblood is the customer, it’s all about trust: your customer’s success depends on you delivering the product that they requested, at the right time. If we didn’t create value for our customers, we would be out of business.”

“We are unique, truly meritocratic: if you perform, you will have every opportunity to grow your career here,” says Hauman. “This is especially attractive for those who are naturally curious and restless, who want to do exceptionally well – they will be given autonomy to build the business in a firm where we all matter: we only have two levels between the CEO and entry level traders. It is extremely motivating to see your ideas come to life, but it also comes with tremendous responsibility, it’s a big ask.”

The rewards are well worth it, Hauman says. “I have been given the opportunity to bring real change in the world.”

The Global Commodity Trader recruitment campaign is now open for further information on Trafigura and how to apply click here:


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