The Black-Owned $15 Billion Tech Company, World Wide Technology, Is Still Hiring Workers As Sector Sheds Job

Much of the tech industry is slowing down on hiring, but World Wide Technology is ramping up. The Missouri-based IT services firm, which now has almost 10,000 employees globally, is still actively recruiting and developing tech talent despite the sector’s current state. Its saving grace has been the supply chain arm of its business, which has upped the demand for everything from warehouse workers to network engineers.

The company can’t hire fast enough, says Ann Marr, executive vice president of human resources. Marr, who has been at the company for just shy of 26 years, explained to Fortune why the company is still recruiting and training talent despite the uncertain economy and how she’s strategically determining which roles to prioritize.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Fortune: How do you view today’s talent market, especially in tech?

Ann Marr: Last year was just an unbelievable year. You didn’t know what to expect week after week. It made the marketplace even more challenging because now you’re competing with companies throwing money at people, and we didn’t know how long that would last. We’re not a public company, so we didn’t have some things that were alluring to people, like stock options. But we were grounded and confident in what we had.

Why is World Wide Technology still recruiting as peers pull back and reverse course?

There’s always going to be competition for great talent. I don’t care if your company is laying off or not laying off—there’s always a need for good talent. And if you’re smart, even if you’re not looking, you’re going to be opportunistic when you find a great candidate you know has long-term, high-level potential. If I see a great individual, I will not pass them by. I’m going to go to my CEO and say we’ve got to look at this person. There’s always going to be an appetite for great talent.

How has WWT been able to prioritize such fervent hiring at this time?

It’s due, in part, to our global supply chain operation. There’s been a backlog in the supply chain for the last year, and with that starting to loosen up, we see the need to bring many of those individuals on board. That’s the reason for the hiring frenzy between warehouse associates, lab technicians, and other roles to help on our global supply chain side.

We’ve had two on-site career fairs at our facilities outside St. Louis, and they’ve been extremely successful. It’s allowed us to fill that need of capacity with those positions. We’re looking at leadership roles, too—being opportunistic—that may not be as much of a need as some of those other roles I mentioned, but we’re always looking for great talent.

So no hiring freeze over at World Wide Technology right now?

No, not right now. The hiring in some areas may start slow because it’s after the first of the year. But in this particular area, the supply chain, we’re moving forward. And even in some other positions. We’ve tried to be as creative as possible in our approach to recruiting—beyond the global supply chain organization. We have a great internship program for college students, do a lot of early career hiring, and look at multiple ways for people to come to World Wide Technology. 

We partner with organizations that help us bring in tech talent. And it’s with organizations that train individuals who did not go to college but have a passion for technology. They start as an intern, a part-time employee, or they may be an apprentice and then have the opportunity to get hired full-time. A lot of those organizations are focused on communities of underrepresented individuals, so it allows us to also bring in diverse talent.

What is an example of a program helping to skill and source talent for the company?

One is a high school technical program called North and South Technical Academy. The program trains individuals for careers. Participants are seniors in high school who come on board via an apprenticeship program and can join us full-time. We have programs for our internal individuals as well. 

Suppose someone is in a particular role and wants to move into another position within the organization for which they need a higher level of skill. Those opportunities are available for them. We will help you gain that skill to be on a different journey. We’ve had people who have gone from an intern to VP, who have been trained along the way. We very much want to focus on our internal employees and those external individuals we want to bring on board. We’re turning over every stone to ensure we capture the right talent.

Why is it so important for HR leaders to double down on reskilling internal employees?

One word: competition. You’ve got to get in front of the competition and differentiate yourself as an organization. Those programs that I mentioned are a differentiator for us as an organization.

Amber Burton

Reporter’s Notebook

The most compelling data, quotes, and insights from the field.

Here’s a long read to sink your teeth into this weekend: Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram investigated where all the laid-off Big Tech workers are going. Unsurprisingly, many have been lured to other industries. Health care, finance, and the public sector have all jumped at the chance to lock down tech talent that was once out of reach.

Read the full story here.

Around the Table

A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.

– Labor supply is back to pre-pandemic levels but labor demand increased by three million jobs. The Economist

– HarperCollins and its striking union agreed to enter federal mediation, a first step toward a possible labor agreement. AP

– Small businesses are on a hiring spree, countering the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the labor market. Wall Street Journal

– Layoffs at industrial firms Dow and 3M are more concerning than those in the tech industry because they didn’t see dramatic growth during the pandemic. MarketWatch 

– Publishing giant DotDash Meredith cut 7% of its workforce, citing declines in ad revenue. CNN


Everything you need to know from Fortune.

Burrito help wanted. Chipotle announced it would hire about 15,000 employees over the next several months. —Chris Morris

Everyone does it. Young employees aren’t more likely to job-hop than previous generations. The median job tenure for an employee in 2022 was five years. That’s the same as in 1983. —Alicia Adamczyk

RTO = record profits. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin attributes the hedge fund’s record $16 billion profit last year to a return to the office. —Chloe Berger

Money over anything. Salary is the top priority for business school graduates searching for jobs, according to new research —Orianna Rosa Royle

About the author: Admin Verified Member Verified Professional Verified Black Owned
We created this site to help Black-Owned Businesses in the USA.

Get involved!

Get Connected!
Join our Community and Expand your audience and get to know New Black-Owned-Business!


No comments yet