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Diversity/Careers Winter 2012/Spring 2013 Issue



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Diversity In Action

At Aerotek, building a diverse workforce

Diversity is important to this staffing company's clients. The firm is working to attract and place a wide range of candidates in corporate jobs


As a provider of recruiting and staffing services, Aerotek managers help their clients identify and attract top talent. A critical part of that process is building a recruiting strategy that accesses a diverse pool of candidates. Aerotek is the largest engineering staffing company in the U.S. according to Staffing Industry Analysts.

"Organizations today realize that in a time where innovation and new ideas are paramount, attracting a diverse spectrum of highly skilled talent is critical to their success," says Shelton Guinn, executive director of diversity and inclusion. "As the search process becomes more competitive, organizations are starting to engage with the talent pipeline very early, through college recruiting or even at the high school level."

Aerotek is an operating company of Allegis Group, the largest provider of staffing services in the U.S. Aerotek has a network of more than 200 offices throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. There are more than 90,000 contractors currently on the job, not all of them engineers. Aerotek provides contract, contract-to-hire and direct placement staff, including complete recruiting and screening services to businesses.

Through a variety of partnerships with organizations including the Association of Women in Science, Society of Women Engineers, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, the PhD Project, Linkage Institute, District of Columbia-College Access Program, Year-Up and the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA), Aerotek looks to expand its network to connect companies with top talent.

In addition to building strategic partnerships, Aerotek engages students directly at the high school and college levels. Guinn and his team partner with teachers to provide high school juniors and seniors with insight into career opportunities so they can make an informed and strategic decision about their course of study once in college.

"We talk about the opportunities different companies represent," he says. "Painting a picture of the trends in the industry and where the company is going to be will make it attractive to those applicants."

Guinn represents Aerotek at round tables with college deans for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including those from engineering departments. He brings engineering students a business perspective, and prepares students to sell themselves to employers. He advises HBCUs to encourage their students to talk about who they are and think about how they present themselves.

Students naturally sell themselves when they talk about their experiences outside school and the relationships that grew from them, he says. By showcasing their own abilities and demonstrating the unique skills they bring to a company, they can separate themselves from the competition. "I encourage them to paint a picture of a success they have had outside their own technical field."

As companies look to hire new-grad engineers to replace the generation that's retiring, the diversity of generations becomes more important, Guinn notes. Aerotek works with students to help them understand other generations and their values. New graduates may be tech savvy, he says, but they haven't had much face-to-face interaction with people twenty years older.

Both age groups can benefit from a mutual mentoring relationship. The early-career employee gets support and vital industry knowledge, while senior executives get insight into the trends the younger workforce brings to the table.

Aerotek sees a rising demand for software engineers to work on cybersecurity and systems administration solutions, Guinn says. College students and new graduates can explore specific technical opportunities through job posting boards and submit resumes through Aerotek's website.

"Students are preparing themselves for their next career opportunities in corporate America by reflecting on the value they bring and the roles they can play," says Guinn. "Competition is global now. Students have to prepare for that global opportunity."

D/C




www.aerotek.com

Headquarters: Hanover, MD
Employees: 5,000 across the U.S., Canada and Europe; 90,000 contractors
Revenues: $4.3 billion (2011)
Business: Technical, professional and industrial employees for contract, contract-to-hire and direct placement positions

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