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Diversity In Action

BAE Systems casts a wider net for diverse techies

"Championing diversity at a growing international defense company is challenging and rewarding," says the new director of diversity and EEO


Participants in a BAE engineering leadership development program.

Participants in a BAE engineering leadership development program.

BAE Systems' focus on diversity includes initiatives tailored to the needs of individual businesses. Diversity is also part of the company's enterprise-wide "people policy," says Cynthia H. Collver. Collver was hired in 2005 as the company's director of diversity & EEO.

"I'm excited about the opportunities at BAE Systems," Collver says. "As the company grows we are expanding our ability to bring in and promote greater diversity throughout the workforce."

The company's technologies, she explains, "are used not only in defense but throughout the international commercial aerospace market. We are part of an industry that has had a global impact. We've significantly advanced technological development, and provided meaningful work for people with a passion for providing solutions to complex challenges."

Collver notes that expanding recruiting efforts is an area of focus, and the company is using technology to cast a wider net. "We just conducted an online job fair using a chat room forum that reached a very diverse audience," she says. "This event shows how we use technology in all parts of the business. This is increasingly the way we interact with the global community."

Participants at the fair posted their resumes to the website and scheduled a block of time for an online chat with recruiters. Candidates were impressed with the flexibility of the system. They could access the websites and different parts of the business at an hour and location that was convenient for them. "This was the second time we tried an enterprise-wide event like this and we had an extremely high satisfaction score," Collver notes.

The event was promoted to a number of diversity-serving organizations. Collver also intends to build even stronger relationships with the societies themselves: NSBE, SHPE, SWE and others. "These are organizations that foster employee development and provide a vehicle for encouraging careers in science and technology," she declares.

BAE Systems is also increasing its focus on college hiring. "We're growing the number of college recruits we bring in because we see that as an important part of building the future," remarks Collver. "As a significant part of our employee population reaches retirement age, we need to expand the talent pool; manage the transfer of knowledge and leverage working relationships between new and long-standing employees."

Collver has been working with diversity champions across BAE Systems' business groups, developing diversity strategies and metrics and sharing internal and external best practices. For example, in one business group a "women in leadership" group meets monthly. It hosts open networking events geared toward developing women for leadership opportunities in the company.

BAE Systems has many training and development programs to help employees realize their full potential. They include e-learning and virtual university courses as well as professional and leadership development initiatives. Some are function-specific and others are broad-based, Collver notes.

Philanthropy is a key component of the company culture. "We make significant contributions to charities, and our employees have direct input into where their efforts and money are going," says Collver.


BAE Systems
Bae Systems Inc

Headquarters: Rockville, MD
Employees: 45,000
Revenues: $10 billion
Business: BAE Systems Inc is the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, an international company engaged in development, delivery and support of advanced defense and aerospace systems.


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