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June/July 2010

Diversity/Careers June/July 2010 Issue




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Diversity In Action

Good news for tech pros: Aerotek has jobs in ‘hot’ industries

The technical staffing and recruiting agency specializes in contractors for essential areas like defense, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and energy


Aerotek’s Burt Baptiste: “We need everyone, the whole gamut!”The good news is that there are plenty of “hot” industries looking for technically knowledgeable people, says Burt Baptiste, director of business operations at Aerotek.

That’s great news for engineers and other tech pros, because Aerotek is a huge and sophisticated firm that specializes in technical, professional and industrial recruiting and staffing services. “We need everyone from software engineers to people who work in applications, engineers with SQL and security clearance: the whole gamut!” Baptiste declares.

Aerotek supplies contractors for some of the hottest industries, ones that have not found the economic hit so brutal, like national defense, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and energy services. In the past six months the company has seen a spike in job needs for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Baptiste notes. “Any job that’s related to DOE, like renewable energy sources and smart grid, will see an increase in open positions,” he says.

Aerotek “literally needs to hire hundreds of disciplines,” he reveals. “If you’re an RF engineer, companies are tripping over themselves to get you. Validation engineers and biostatisticians are needed for clinical applications in biomedical. And anything that’s new and starting up, especially the biotech companies, will need to fill a variety of scientific and clinical positions as they grow.

“We find that engineering and tech professionals have skill sets that are easily transferable.”

To see areas where Aerotek will be hiring, Baptiste advises that you watch the news and check out where the stimulus money is going. “If 10 percent of the funds are going to one industry, it’s a safe bet that’s where your skills are needed,” he says.

Aerotek is always looking for diverse candidates, partnering with NSBE and HBCUs. For the past seven years company recruiters have been going to schools “that are probably less well-known” to find candidates in the diverse pool.

Aerotek employees enjoy a culture that fosters strong diversity awareness training. “That’s something I’m proud of about our organization,” Baptiste says. “Seven years ago we realized we needed to do work internally.”

It started with a decision from the CEO, who instituted a diversity council of about a dozen people from all levels of the organization to provide “a good snapshot on potential problems and what’s going on in the field.” Baptiste, a founding member, explains that council members rotate every three years. The CEO attends every board meeting: “Because of his involvement, we have been able to really grow the program.”

Every director, VP and senior member of the company participates in a three-day diversity training class. Aerotek has 200 to 400 “diversity champions” at all levels, nominated by their team leaders. “If we think you’ll encourage diversity awareness and deliver the message to your peers, you’re on board,” Baptiste says.

Each office and department has one or two diversity champions, and 60 to 70 percent of the entire organization has attended the day-long diversity training class; eventually the number will be 100 percent.

Each Aerotek office focuses on community activities like the Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, and fundraising for nonprofits. There’s an intranet site spotlighting specific events.

Baptiste notes that Aerotek supports employees throughout their careers. “I tell employees that whether it’s day one or day 10,000, we will always have someone interested in helping you to advance. Our motto is ‘Know where each individual stands.’”

Part of that is a formal quarterly assessment program. Mentoring is offered to everyone. Employees are welcome to email HR, anonymously if they like, about their concerns and suggestions.

Baptiste notes that Aerotek “values every single employee, no matter their race, ethnicity or gender. Everyone needs different things, and if those things are within our reach we can focus on what they need. We want our employees to feel valued, so they’re doing their best work when they come to the office.”

D/C



Aerotek
www.aerotek.com

Headquarters: Hanover, MD
Employees: 3,500 internal, 50,000 contract
Revenues: $2.4 billion in 2009
Business: Staffing and recruiting agency for technical, professional and industrial services

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