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Diversity In Action

Nielsen is all about diversity

A diverse workforce helps recognize trends in consumer behavior. An emerging leaders program provides executive training. Interns are likely to get job offers


Diversity is central to the products and services Nielsen is selling: information about consumer behavior.

Nielsen is an information and measurement company that provides clients with media and marketing information, analytics and industry expertise about what consumers watch and what they buy. The company evaluates marketing effectiveness and advises clients on strategies. Its research and data help guide clients in developing new products and marketing campaigns.

“We not only provide data, but insight into consumer behavior,” says Angela Talton, senior VP of global diversity and inclusion. “In order to recognize trends in consumer behavior, you need a group that is diverse.”

Some findings are surprising
Nielsen is best known in the United States for television ratings, but twenty-first century marketing requires more than ratings. Nielsen provides information and analysis of what consumers watch online and on mobile devices as well as on TV, and what they are buying, globally and locally.

According to data from a recent Nielsen/SocialGuide study, 80 percent of tablet and smartphone owners use their devices while they watch TV, and 32 million people tweeted about TV in 2012.

“One of our big findings in the past twenty-four months is how much younger people in particular have cut the cord with television,” says chief engineer Shankar Iyer. “They are watching more and more content on their tablets, as compared to television. It’s increasingly the first screen for this generation.”

Diverse talent is crucial
At Nielsen, diversity goes beyond obvious racial, ethnic, age and ability differences. The company needs diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences as well. With over 34,000 employees in 100 countries, Nielsen has built an inclusive culture around diversity.

Nielsen recruits at colleges and universities close to its technology hubs, in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, San Francisco and Tampa, but welcomes all applicants online. Recruiters build relationships with each campus by partnering with minority engineering organizations like SWE, SHPE and NSBE. They reach out to HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions like the University of Miami in Florida and the University of California-Berkeley. Nielsen executives sit on university boards. And connecting with college students also helps the company understand how consumers are using new media.

Interns are likely to get hired
About fifteen technology interns come to Nielsen each summer, working at the engineering and technology centers in Chicago and Tampa. Typically, more than three-quarters of interns who are ready to graduate are offered fulltime positions. The company fills twenty to thirty new technology positions annually, in addition to openings created by internal promotions. Java and experience with mobile computing are in demand to build technology solutions.

“An inclusive culture and early talent recognition are critical parts of building a truly technological company,” says Iyer. “We are looking for people with a deep understanding of technology concepts who can lead a team to solve a technology problem.”

Emerging leaders enter a training program
Interns are the feeder group for the emerging leaders program, a rotational executive training program. It’s a two-year program of four six-month rotations that includes ten weeks of boot camp. Senior executives employ a case study approach, presenting the complexities of bringing a technology solution to the marketplace and determining the return on investment.

Interns learn strategies for putting technology to a business use. University of Florida students worked on improving the meter that collects data from television sets to reduce its cost and make it more efficient. Students also worked to improve Nielsen’s store audit tool, used for measuring what products are on store shelves.

“Technology is used extensively to create a product that is usable in emerging countries of Latin America and Asia,” says Iyer.

The emerging leaders program includes an international engineering and technology rotation for top students. Global awareness is also being built into the company’s workforce, Iyer notes.

Diversity councils and ERGs help recruit
Nielsen has seven employee resource groups that address recruitment, retention, community outreach and professional development issues. The groups are active internally and involved in community activities. They connect like-minded employees across the company and around the world. Two of the groups have global membership in four countries.

The company has a diversity council chaired by chief diversity officer Susan Whiting, and three external advisory councils that focus on African American, Hispanic/Latino and Asian Pacific Islander issues. The councils help Nielsen enhance products and services to be responsive to ethnic markets. The industry, community and business leaders who serve on the councils also help with recruiting.

“When you think about what Nielsen does, our focus has to be on what all consumers watch and what all consumers buy,” says Talton.

D/C




www.nielsen.com

Headquarters: New York, NY and Diemen, the Netherlands
Employees: 34,000
Revenues: $5.612 billion (2012)
Business: Consumer information and measurement

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