As our leaders often say, Accenture believes in empowering every individual—because, when we do, we start to build the truly diverse and inclusive world in which we all want to live. And that mix of skills and approaches is becoming even more important in a market where traditional skills are under pressure.

Coworkers chatting at work

Increased digitalization has meant new demands for different skills as many organizations find they need to adapt to a new future of work. It’s just one of the reasons why Accenture is committed to widening our talent pools. What does that mean? Well, we’re defining new paths for people to enter technology careers, focusing on disadvantaged social groups and partnering with relevant organizations to access talent from diverse experiences or backgrounds.

Six years ago, we began focusing our inclusion and diversity efforts on closing talent gaps, collaborating with our global IT team. We knew the answer lay in widening our horizons in how we sought out and retained our talent pool

New talent pools

Here are three areas where Accenture is welcoming a bigger, more diversified talent pool:

North America Apprentice Network: Cofounded with AON, our North America Apprentice Network began as the Chicago Apprentice Network in 2016. Partnering with local employers, the network aims to jumpstart professional apprenticeship programs. Today, the program has more than 70 member organizations and provides individuals with high-quality career pathways while helping employers develop their workforce for the needs of tomorrow.

Opportunities are available to people from every background and all walks of life, such as one apprentice who progressed from a high school in the Bronx to become the CEO and Founder of his own investment fund. It’s a lifechanging program that inspires and invigorates our own workforce, leading to benefits for both sides. And our research offers evidence that these kinds of inclusive behaviors have wide-ranging impact. For example, as part of the ongoing Accenture “Getting to Equal” studies, we found that organizations most focused on disability engagements are growing sales 2.9X faster and profits 4.1X faster than their peers.

Accenture has brought on more than 1,200 apprentices specializing in one of more than 10 unique, in-demand digital economy roles ranging from cybersecurity specialist to digital transformation associate. We offer one-year apprenticeships, weekly meetings, coaching and guidance to give apprentices every opportunity to shine. And we’ve announced a goal to fill 20% of Accenture’s entry-level roles from our apprenticeship program in the United States in fiscal year 2022.

India coding program: We’ve set up a coding program known as Aarambh to empower marginalized participants from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to get involved in a corporate environment to hone or develop skills and improve employment readiness. Breaking down traditional barriers, the program seeks to mentor job seekers and offer help through low or no-code training so that participants gain certifications and experience on work assignments to make them role and market-ready. We now have 31 Aarambh participants who have worked more than 2,700 hours on projects and dramatically improved their skills and proficiency in a range of technology environments.

i.c.stars program: Since 1999, i.c.stars has been working with low-income, young adults, providing them with employment opportunities and preparing them for community-based advocacy. Partnering with i.c.stars since 2009, Accenture has seen five cycles of the program involving candidates from inner city backgrounds. In each cycle, there are around 200 candidates who apply to enter a bootcamp and, following a series of tests and training over a period of three to four months, around 24 are selected, allocated to teams and given a technology challenge.

Accenture is the largest employer among a variety of businesses that sponsor the program, working with and coaching candidates as they design and execute a technology application, including presenting the final submission to a board of senior executives. Subsequently, Accenture selects more than 15 apprentices in CIO to work full-time at Accenture, contributing toward our company’s inclusion and diversity goals and recognizing that the success of these unique individuals will lift not only their own lives, but also the lives and communities of those they touch.

Connect, communicate, coordinate

If you’re wondering how inclusion and diversity can help to build a bigger talent pool in your own organization, consider the following three actions:

  • Widen the net by introducing new resources to your teams from places, you haven't tapped into before.
  • Be personally involved in programs, such as apprenticeships, as a mentor, coach or supervisor.
  • Share your experiences with your network where you’ve seen success in building diverse teams and inclusive work environments to spread the word.

Going forward we want to connect, communicate and coordinate to develop our inclusion and diversity practices and offer those who may be excluded from the workforce a better chance—at work and in life.

Melissa Summers

Managing Director – Global IT, Corporate Technology

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