A recent careful examination of its demographics sent Xerox Corp. a clear message: the company must broaden its engineering staff with a cross section of new hires from different disciplines to meet market demand for digital and color imaging technology. After a several-year hiatus from college recruiting, Xerox has come back–and with a specific type of engineer in mind. "We’re looking for people who are action-oriented and not afraid to challenge old thinking," says Joseph Hammill, responsible for talent acquisition at Xerox. The firm expects to hire close to 75 new college graduates.
"As we looked out five years, we recognized we have some demographics facing us," says Hammill. "We were in a growth spiral during the 1960s and 1970s. Plus, Xerox retains people. We don’t have a lot of churning. Now there’s a demographic bubble we have to address because our early hiring bubble is approaching retirement age." (See the table.)
"We don’t have the depth of engineering we used to have, so we have to start building back that depth," says Hammill. "We have to get back into the college scenario along with our other hiring avenues and recruit new talent across the board for Xerox in the engineering discipline."
"This was not the case a year ago. Like most mature businesses, we had been either downsizing or right-sizing and not really adding to our base," says Eduardo Bascaran, manager of engineering learning at Xerox. "Now we are building a hiring process with some firm objectives."
"We want people with excellent engineering skills, specific disciplines, and internships where they applied their engineering disciplines into the environment, and actually learn about other engineering disciplines. Integrating disciplines is a big plus," says Hammill.
"We want people with a good business sense and acumen, who can communicate well with a team, customers, and cross organizationally," adds Hammill. Teamwork includes the ability to work remotely via phone and Internet with Xerox groups all over the world.
Xerox adopted "Lean Six Sigma," an enterprise method for project measurement. It drives its business processes and work environment. "In the engineering world, it helps us create more and more at a quicker pace, with a higher level of quality and lower cost points." Engineers must be able to work in this environment.
As Xerox has shifted from copiers to digital systems and services over the years, its engineering mix has changed too. Previously, more mechanical engineers were needed; now the priority has turned to electronic engineers with network connectivity, software knowledge, and solutions orientations. On top of that, market demand for color imaging technology has heightened Xerox’s need for chemical engineers.