NJ Tech Company Makes A Move to Attract Top Local Talent
When Spirent, a telecommunications company, reorganized last year its leaders looked for a space where the company could grow. A place with a rich tradition of technology advancement. A place where it would be in a position to recruit locally from the ultra-talented New Jersey employee market. A place where its people could work inspired.
Spirent found that place in Bell Works.
The 86 employee strong Spirent business development and customer experience division moved into the former Bell Labs building after consolidating two of its business units. Tom Magg, the vice president of business development at Spirent, sees Bell Works as the perfect home for his department.
“Fundamentally, this is where the advances in telecommunications happened,” Magg said.
The building is rich in telecommunications history, housing the research and development departments for the Bell System for 44 years. Bell Labs is where the first transatlantic telephone cable connected Europe to the US with 36 simultaneous calls in 1956. And where, in 1963, the first touch-tone telephone was invented before the first commercial cellular network and digital cellular phone came along in 1978-80 in the same building.
Magg and his team work to ensure quality interactions during telecommunications, providing the software and equipment to companies who hire them to monitor their services and maintain that equipment. Spirent enables innovations in communications technologies that help connect people by providing service, data centers, enterprise IT networks, mobile communications and more.
And with more than 60 billion messages coming across their desks and hundreds of terabytes of data to analyze daily, things are never slow at Spirent.
“Our business unit was a startup before being absorbed by Spirent,” Magg said. “So we really respect the work that the startups are doing at Bell Works. It’s a great place for us to keep our startup mentality.”
More than half the employees of Spirent’s business development unit spent time working in the Bell Labs building before it closed in 2007. When Spirent consolidated two of its business units and was looking for a home for the new division, Ray Lee, director of global properties with Spirent, approached the task by looking at financial incentives and geographical perks.
“New Jersey is really working to provide financial advantages for businesses to set up shop and stay in the state,” Lee said. “Tax breaks will go a long way in keeping NJ companies local.” See what other Bell entrepreneurs are saying about tax breaks here.
But attracting young talent in New Jersey to feed those businesses is an issue.
Currently, according to Choose New Jersey, New Jersey students are leaving the state at a rate nearly twice the national average, or 35,000 students a year.
“We’ve got to attract the best and brightest engineers to figure out solutions for our customers,” Magg said. He and Lee say they’re looking to schools like Princeton, Stevens Institute of Technology and New Jersey Institute of Technology to supply their demand. And they’re banking on their new space, and its tech pedigree, to help attract them.
“When we were in a regular office nothing differentiated us,”Magg said.
Programs like Choose New Jersey’s Smart Students Initiative aim to keep top talent in the state. The Smart Students Initiative incentivizes top-performing students by offering the highest academically-ranked students from 44 schools who choose to attend a New Jersey college a one-time, $2,000 scholarship and paid summer job at participating businesses for the three summers after their freshman, sophomore and junior years. According to Choose New Jersey, more than half of internships turn into jobs.
Participating businesses include Audible, Public Service Enterprise Group, Atlantic City Electric, PNC Bank, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Hackensack University Health Network, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
Spirent currently takes up 17,000 square feet at Bell Works and has the option to expand, which could mean more tech jobs for the next crop of graduates.
“Now that we’re at Bell Works, we’re seeing the younger generation of employees really wanting to stay in New Jersey. We’re recruiting out of the best colleges in NJ.”
For more information on Spirent, visit http://www.spirent.com/.