Tackling innovation with the MasterCard HR team

How do you stop your firm from being devastated by rapid technology changes? We asked a group head of HR at MasterCard for his thoughts on the matter.

Although MasterCard is doing well in its global business efforts, Mike McCarthy, group head of HR for Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, understands the dangers of resting on your laurels.
“What we have right now works very well,” he said. “The same could be said of Kodak though, which in its time was an industrial giant until the digital camera came along and wiped the business out.”
To prevent this kind of a future for MasterCard, the company works to nurture a creative culture through initiatives such as innovation forums, a drive for staff-submitted patents, and innovation express sessions.
There is also a big push to bring more females into STEM roles, McCarthy said. He spoke of Singapore where the firm supported the global organisation Women 2.0 with its local launch.
“We helped with the launch on our premises. Women 2.0 invited any guests that they wanted to, so the people that attended were external to MasterCard and our staff,” he said.
These same speakers were invited back at a later date to talk with the company’s employees, he added. “It’s actually very inspirational.”
When striving towards gender balance, McCarthy said that although MasterCard isn’t exactly where it wants to be with regards to gender equality, this is still something it is working hard on.
“We focus quite strongly on that internally and externally.”
In the Asia-Pacific, about 43% of MasterCard’s workforce is female. This figure drops significantly though in areas such as the Middle East, India and Pakistan, he added.
He stressed though that the company aimed at providing meaningful careers to talented women who wished to develop themselves worldwide – even in more conservative regions.
“We can’t change a country’s culture, and nor should we. What we can do is provide opportunities for people who want to take a particular path,” he said.
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