From business to politics, more leaders are beginning to wake up to the importance of diversifying their workforces in order to increase the sharing of different ideas, qualities and skills within a collective, as well as promote gender equality in the workplace. But where does recruitment rank in terms of equal opportunities for women in the industry?
More needs to be done to promote gender equality
According to an article in CEO Review there is still a long way to go in promoting gender equality within the recruitment sector: “Almost a third (30%) of recruitment firms have less than 5% female leaders at board level and another third (32%), only have between 21-50%.”
Evidence from PEW Research shows that women are more effective than men in seven out of eight key leadership traits, which only reinforces the biases women face in the recruitment specialism. Clearly, something needs to change.
Challenges women face
- There is a lack of female role models
Data from LinkedIn found that just one in four C-suite positions are held by women. In addition to this, 57% of women said having a relatable role model is crucial to career success. Women are being hampered by not having their career paths mapped out for them in the same way that they are for men.
- The sector still retains an ‘old boys club’ culture
Men are 21% more likely to be promoted to leadership positions than women. Whilst lots of companies have done away with the ‘old boys club’ ethos, the knock on effects are still being felt by women.
- Family commitments are a key concern
Women often report that taking a career break to raise their children makes it difficult for them when they return to the workplace, with a lack of support on offer by their employers at a level they need to resume what is a high pressured and competitive environment within the recruitment sector.
The way forward
The world is changing and many businesses are recognising the benefits of drawing talent from a much wider pool. However, there is still more that recruitment firms need to do in terms of reforming their culture and creating a more inclusive and equal workforce.
Three steps recruitment leaders should take to move forward are:
1. Appoint more female role models
Research has shown that women are more inspired by same sex role models succeeding in business, and this is certainly true in recruitment. With more female employees, there should be more women getting promoted, leading to more and more role models for new.
2. Improve performance guidance and feedback
Whether it be praise or developmental feedback, women are more likely to receive an emotive style of feedback unrelated to results in comparison to men. In fact, men are 20% more likely to receive actionable feedback according to this article from the Harvard Business Review.
For this reason, people who give performance reviews must possess the ability to communicate the areas in which a recipient excels whilst noting which skills must be improved. Women must be given more targeted and specific actions to achieve, as this will give them a clear pathway on how they can progress their careers.
3. Engage, support and advance
Steps should also be taken to include women in company conversations – communication is key, and ‘old boys clubs’ are such an archaic concept that it’s unsurprising so many industry professionals are finding them problematic. Family commitments will undoubtedly be the most difficult issue to tackle. However, employers should emphasise that the company is always there to listen to any worries they may have if employers have the capacity to utilise flexible working opportunities, they should seriously consider it.
The benefits of a diverse workforce
Research has regularly shown that diverse companies outperform their less diverse counterparts. This is yet another reason organisations should look to prioritise diversity, if for no other reason than to avoid shooting themselves in the foot and missing out on potential income and revenue.
We want you on our team
Are you an experienced recruiter looking for your next role within the industry? Search is a nationwide recruitment agency that offers a wide range of jobs from a variety of specialist industry sectors. If you feel you would be an ideal addition to our team, please do not hesitate to contact our internal recruitment team on [email protected].