Brinda Rajaraman: A voice in Accenture’s mission to create pathways for opportunity and diversity in tech
As a managing director in Accenture’s Philadelphia office, Rajaraman plays a lead role in advocating for those who were historically overlooked in this space.
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As a passionate technology leader with experience in large complex platform implementation and transformation programs, she has been a strong voice for Accenture’s mission to create paths for others to find their way within the tech industry.
Throughout her tenure, she has experienced a lot within the company, which includes the initiation of the Accenture North America Apprenticeship program.
Launched in 2016, the Accenture Apprenticeship program gives previously untapped talent greater access to digital economy jobs, while simultaneously creating new career pathways for talent who haven’t had the opportunity to work in the tech industry.
She notes that the apprenticeship program is a key component of Accenture’s overall mission.
“We heavily invest in hiring, training, developing and retaining talent,” said Rajaraman, during a panel discussion celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Philadelphia Apprentice Network.
However, while challenges persist, the apprenticeship program has sought to address this. Insofar, it has brought to light a reality.
“One thing that we were very clear on is there is absolutely no shortage of people with big ideas,” said Rajaraman.
Some companies may struggle with the prospect of effectively training individuals with little to no experience in the tech field, and providing the tools to develop a pathway for talented individuals with a passion for this kind of work.
An element that has served as a barrier in this regard is the often requirement of a four-year degree.
Accenture looks at things in a different way, and has removed the four-year degree requirement for 45% of its roles.
“We really started looking at potential,” said Rajaraman. “We tried doing the responsible thing in terms of uplifting them by giving them a career rather than just a job.”
The training, coaching and skill development that goes into the 12-month apprenticeship program equips apprentices with the critical tools needed to advance their careers — many of which continue on with permanent full-time employment opportunities at Accenture.
“It’s been an amazing journey, seeing people grow from the time they come in,” said Rajaraman, who has been a part of the program since its inception.
Since the apprenticeship program’s launch, the company has brought on more than 2,000 apprentices in over 40 cities across North America.
Rajaraman said that shift in focus and hiring tactics has led Accenture to find supremely talented candidates and create opportunities for individuals who may have struggled to find similar opportunities elsewhere.
In addition, she noted another critical byproduct of the apprenticeship program.
“It also gave us the diversity that we really needed, which weren’t coming from traditional sources,” said Rajaraman, noting that the majority of apprentices are racially and ethnically diverse.
“It's helping us build that truly inclusive, diverse workforce that we want,” she added.
To her, an inclusive and diverse workforce leads to a more highly motivated and passionate workforce.