10 Conferences Where Employers Can Recruit Underrepresented Talent In STEM
Invest in your talent pipeline by raising brand awareness and meeting talented individuals face-to-face.
Most employers hiring for STEM-related roles are aware of the skewed representation that exists among graduates entering the field. Despite earning more than half of bachelor’s degrees, women make up only 36% of all STEM fields and less than 20% of degrees in engineering and computer science. And Black, Hispanic/Latinx and Native American students collectively earn only 16% of bachelor’s degrees in STEM. With these numbers, it’s imperative that employers utilize every avenue possible to connect with talented graduates seeking to enter the workforce.
One way to connect with underrepresented talent in STEM is to establish a presence at conferences that seek to uplift and support these underrepresented groups. Conferences like the Grace Hopper Celebration and the annual conference put on by the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) provide networking and professional development opportunities for members, and can also be a great place for companies to connect with prospective candidates and generate brand awareness. Some conferences offer employers resume access and provide spaces for on-site one-on-one interviews with attendees, while others offer companies the chance to share their employer brand and opportunities with members.
By attending and supporting these conferences through sponsorships, your company is not only investing in your own talent pipeline by meeting talented individuals face-to-face but in the potential of women and people of color in STEM – check out these 10 conferences and consider incorporating a few into your 2020 or 2021 recruitment strategy.
Conferences focused on Women in STEM
Targeted attendees: Women in tech
National Conference Location: March 5, 2020 - San Francisco, CA
Employer involvement: Resume access, career expo, exhibits, interviews
WIT is a platform that connects women engineers in five cities with one full day of networking opportunities with each other and employers. Employers can access resumes and attendee profiles, and get space for personalized exhibits and one-on-one meetings. There are local communities in 23 cities including upcoming conferences in Seattle, Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles. Employers can find out how they can participate as a sponsor here.
Targeted attendees: Women in tech
Event Location: Orlando, FL - Sept 29-Oct 2, 2020
Employers: Career expo, resume access, interview booth
More than 25,000 attendees at the 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) enjoyed keynotes, panels, and initiating career opportunities with participating employers. Hundreds of companies – such as Amazon, American Express, Google, and Disney – took advantage of sponsorship and recruitment opportunities at GHC to recruit talented women in computer science. If you can’t make the annual celebration (ticket and sponsorships go fast!) employers can check the GHC website for local communities and events to partner or host local meetings.
Targeted attendees: Lesbians and allies in tech
Event Location: San Francisco, CA - April 23-25, 2020
Employers: Career fair, interview lounge
LWT three-day summit includes sessions for career and professional development, leadership, and entrepreneurship. There were more than 6,000 attendees at their national meeting in 2019. Past employer sponsors participated in the "recruitment zone" and "tech crawl," which gave employers a space to showcase their company to recruit and network. LWT has more than 42 chapters worldwide and works with companies such as Workday, Google, and Spotify. Local events have taken place in Chicago and New York.
Targeted attendees: Women in engineering
Next Event Location: New Orleans, LA - November 5-7, 2020
Employers: Career Expo, interview booths
The 2019 SWE conference had more than 16,000 attendees, most of which were women in engineering or related fields; sponsors from the 2019 conference included Accenture, Apple, and 3M. In addition to workshops and speakers for college students, graduates, professionals and aspiring executives, SWE hosts an annual career fair for employers to exhibit their opportunities to prospective candidates. Information on 2020 sponsorships is already available – download “WE20 prospectus” for details on exhibiting at this year’s conference.
Conferences focused on African Americans in STEM
Targeted attendees: Black professionals in tech, startups, and entrepreneurs
Next Event Location: Oakland, CA - November 12-15, 2020
Employers: Resume access, career expo
Created by Blavity, a technology and media company, this conference provides career networking and development for Black professionals in tech. While this event is largely geared toward Black entrepreneurs, there are also opportunities for employers to connect with talented prospective employees. The 2019 conference included an impressive scope of partner companies, including Airbnb, Apple, JP Morgan, Slack, and Uber. There are a host of sponsorship opportunities available, but companies specifically interested in recruiting can select that option in the form available here.
Targeted attendees: Black engineers
Next Event Location: San Antonio, TX – 2020
Employers: Resume access, career expo
The NSBE annual convention entertains more than 8,000 attendees each year with a program that includes a career fair on both days. Among the various activities, the conference hosts a college/graduate school fair, professional development workshops, and features an award ceremony. Employers and recruiters are encouraged to participate at NSBE's six regional conferences, and can also engage one of 500 local chapters.
Targeted attendees: Black professionals in tech
Next Event Location: New York, New York - April 17-18, 2020
Employers: Recruitment and networking
Black is Tech had more than 1000 attendees last year and is planning to double attendance at their 2020 conference. The event describes itself as “a platform for black and minority tech professionals, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to connect,” and promises over 60 speakers and attendees from 250+ companies. Last year, employers such as Google, Dropbox, and Adobe participated in several recruiting and networking opportunities, which are available this year as well. You can view last year’s agenda here, and learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.
Conferences focused on Hispanics/Latinx in STEM
Targeted attendees: Latinas in Tech
Next Event Location: TBA
Employers: Participate in the career hub, 2-day recruitment table
LIT’s LTXFest 2019 had more than 1,000 attendees at their four-day event. As part of the main event, employers are involved at the 2-day Latina's in Tech Silicon Valley Tech Summit where they can present as a speaker, host a workshop, and recruit. 2020 information isn’t available yet, but employers can get more information about the attendees and potential sponsorships here. In addition to their annual summit, the eight local chapters regularly present career events for Latinas in Tech members, giving employers the opportunity to present on panels and network.
Targeted attendees: Hispanics in STEM
Next Event Location: Denver, CO - Oct 28-Nov. 1, 2020
Employers: Career fair, graduate school expo, resume access
The SHPE Annual Convention had nearly 7,500 attendees in 2019 in their five-day event. For employers looking to connect with engineering talent, this conference is a great choice. In previous conventions, there were over 600 interview booths available, 5,000 interviews conducted, and 100 offers extended on the spot. There are five conferences within the convention to choose from, so review your options in the 2020 national convention agenda here. In addition to their national convention, SHPE also offers eight regional conferences for employers who are looking to sponsor on a more local scale.
Conferences focused on Native Americans in STEM
Targeted attendees: American Indians in STEM
Next Event Location: Spokane, WA - October 15-17, 2020
Employers: Career and college fair lunch, exhibits, resume access
The National AISES conference had more than 2,220 college and professional attendees. At last year’s conference, employers participated in career lunches, employer exhibits, one-on-one interviews, and obtained year-round resume access and postings on AISES career hub. Potential sponsors can learn more about participating on the AISES site.
Any of these conferences could make a great addition to your talent acquisition strategy this year. Whether you choose to participate in national, regional, or local events, raising brand awareness while talking with prospective candidates face-to-face is well worth the time and resources spent.