#IWD2020 CHAMPIONING WOMEN
“An equal world is an enabled world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.”https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
This year’s theme is #EachforEqual and we want to talk about the recruitment industry and how we can challenge stereotypes, fight bias and broaden perceptions.
The race is on for gender equal workplaces, right up to the boardroom and we’re championing and backing our women in recruitment to get there.
We spoke to the women of Few&Far, who have all come from various different backgrounds and asked them how they perceive the industry, what their goals are for the future and what their experience has been like so far.
Is there a divide in the industry when it comes to leadership positions in recruitment?
Ashleigh: “Majority of leaders I come across in Recruitment are men. Admittedly, our senior team is predominantly male and while we have positions open for senior women to join us, this doesn’t exactly improve the problem within the industry. Even though we’d love to currently balance our boardroom we can’t “reserve places” for women or deny jobs to men because of this.”
What can we do as an industry to attract more women to recruitment?
Ashleigh: “What we’re doing is making a long-term investment with all of our junior staff. We currently have some really determined young women and men quickly moving up the ranks, some joined us straight out of school. They have a really clear path to Director-level which some could achieve by the time they’re 25. What’s great about recruitment is that it really doesn’t matter what gender you are, it’s ALL about having a drive to be successful.”
Lilli: “There’s a negative perception of recruitment which I think can get in the way of the reality of what is actually an extremely meritocratic industry. Most recruitment career progression, salary and commission are completely transparent – there are no separate or ‘secret’ paths for men or women. We try to be really honest with the messaging we put out there as well as in first interviews and I encourage others to do the same to retain those you hire. Recruitment can be a tough gig, particularly in the beginning and no one wants to be oversold a fairytale.”
Do you believe there are equal opportunities for women in recruitment?
Mobby: “Now more than ever. Although, there’s a fine line between being hired because you’re really good at what you do to being hired because you are a female and there is a quota to hit.”
Grace: “We are definitely starting to see more women in recruitment, but there seem to be very few that are leaders in the industry. This could be down to a lack of equal opportunities or just down to the fact that it has been a male dominated industry for so long which can take a while to balance the scales.”
Silvia: “Yes. While it still appears to be a male dominated industry, I’ve never felt my opportunities were affected by my gender. Having said that, our team is pretty diverse so I don’t know how I would feel if I worked in an office full of just men.”
Are you incentivised to move into a leadership role?
Grace: “We are absolutely incentivised to move into leadership roles here, especially with the progression frameworks we have in place, it definitely goes to show the want for us to eventually be leading a team.”
Ciara: “In past companies, it wasn’t made clear that there was a leadership pathway for me, but I am pretty driven toward being a leader, so it’s something that I want to work toward here.”
Meg: “Yes, especially after seeing our Team Leads build out successful teams. You’re not rushed into it either, you start leading when you feel it’s right so I like the way we can control our own career paths.”
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Grace: “Few and far away from here. Joking. I’d love to be in the position to be able to train and lead people who are starting out in their recruitment career and give them the opportunity that I’ve had.”
Silvia: “Ideally I would be at an individual contributor level / Principal Consultant. There’s no pressure to head down either a management or non-managerial route, so it’s great that the choice is mine.”
Ciara: “I see myself running my own team, there are enough female leaders out there and I will definitely be one of them, it’s something I’ve always wanted.”
Mobby: “It sounds insane to say right now given I’m so early in my career, but I’d love to be heading up my own team!”
What is it like working across two male-dominated industries – from recruitment to technology?
Grace: “It can be daunting at times, especially being so young, I do often feel that I might not be taken seriously. But I’ve been given the tools and training to support me in growing my knowledge in the product space so that I can show that I really know my sh*t when it comes to my market!”
Mobby: “I’m guessing 5-10 years ago, it would’ve been daunting and cold. But the technology and recruitment space has changed so much and there are so many opportunities now! So many “women in tech” events. It’s definitely not as scary anymore.”
Ciara: “It does make me work harder to want to prove myself in both industries. I love when I come across boss female candidates to work with.”
Meg: “Since working in the product design market, I’ve noticed a really equal ratio of men to women. I’d love to see this replicated in the recruitment industry.”
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Grace: “I found it really difficult to get buy in with senior candidates, most of which were male. But I found by showing the value and the knowledge that I have of the market, as well as getting out to meetups and events to get face-face time, it became a lot easier for people to recognise that I actually know what I’m doing and have a lot of valuable information that can actually help them out.”
Ciara: “Probably people not really taking me seriously, it’s always going to be a challenge being a young female in the professional world – but you just have to focus on what the end goal is and take advantage of the support and tools on offer.”
Have you experienced anything in your career so far that you don’t think would have happened to a male counterpart?
Grace: “I once answered the phone for my boss and the candidate told me I sounded really young, like a child in-fact, and then proceeded to ask how tall I am.”
Ciara: “I had a client try and ask me out on a date, that was weird and I don’t think he ever asked any of the male recruiters out… safe to say I didn’t work with that client ever again. I’ve also had a candidate email me to tell me how beautiful I was after their interview. Flattering, but will that get you a job? No.”
Ashleigh: “I think it’s really important that all leaders in recruitment ensure there are equal opportunities for women, a clear path to leadership-level, avoid bias in hiring and create a culture women feel comfortable working in.”
How will you help forge a gender equal world?
Let’s celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
Learn more about our wonderful team here.