I have been surrounded by amazing women for my whole life; women who make waves in their industry and break glass ceilings.
It started with my mum. She was the first female manager, and then Associate Director for a company back home in Gibraltar and that certainly wasn’t an easy journey.
Unfortunately there are still business sectors that are heavily male dominated, especially in leadership roles. Being new to the world of recruitment, I had assumed this was one of them. However, starting at Harvey John I was pleasantly surprised. There is a brilliant mix of strong, hard working women and men, with women matching the men in the leadership roles.
It’s fantastic to see a utopian work environment where everyone is treated fairly and equally, regardless of their gender. However, this isn’t necessarily the case for a lot of companies, even in recruitment.
It’s something that is changing and it is evident that there are added benefits of having women in leadership roles. And who better to outline why this is the case than the women of Harvey John…
“Female recruiters tend to have more of an empathic nature and we genuinely care about both our clients and candidates, working hard to find them the best fit. To us, it’s far more than just a placement.”
“Personally I think women can offer a good balance to male viewpoints when it comes to judging candidates and prioritising different attributes. I think a key thing is diversity of opinion and choice.
“The truth is people tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to them. By having women involved in the recruitment processes you diversify the opinions of candidates, selection processes, and it also helps to determine what the client needs. Diversity is good for any business!”
“I have 15 years experience in the recruitment industry during which time, in the main, I have seen women progress through recruiter and billing manager levels based on merit. It's interesting, though, that at Board level the number of female leaders in the industry drops off. According to APSCo, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, over 40% of the UK recruitment workforce are women, however only 25% of leaders in the industry are female.
“We are proud at Harvey John to buck this trend - our leadership team comprises 50% women and 50% men. We feel this mix gives us a balance around the Board room table and reflects our stakeholders’ interests.”
“As with all professions, the recruitment sector serves a diverse community of candidates. We are best placed to do that well if the whole community is represented in our recruiters. By working towards diversity among our own workforce, whether that be gender, race, social background or any other characteristic, the recruitment industry is positioning itself to understand and meet the needs of all of those groups.
“While change is afoot through shared parental leave and more men choosing to work flexibly around their home commitments, as things stand, women more commonly take on the home and family responsibilities alongside their careers.
“Female recruiters, especially those who are doing exactly that, can advocate for change within their specialist sectors, promoting the benefits of flexible working for women and men alike.”
“The recruitment industry has traditionally had quite a poor reputation, with a view that recruiters are just sales people trying to shoehorn candidates into a job to make a quick fee. Recruiters were assumed to have no consideration about what is best for the candidate and their career.
“I think that women recruiters are generally more empathetic, collaborative and are more prepared to take time to talk and listen to candidates and what they actually want from their next role. This means that women make better recruiters in the long term, building lasting relationships and gaining trust from both clients and candidates.”
“Similar to the sales industry, recruitment faces the assumption of being an ‘old boys’ club, a male dominated, dare I say it, chauvinistic environment. However, the industry has changed over recent decades, thanks to many determined and successful female recruiters whose work has encouraged the shift of gender bias within the industry.
“With work remaining to be done to achieve true gender equality - female presence within recruitment is key. Whilst striving for equality in the workplace, leaders have a duty to provide women with clear paths they can take towards leadership roles. Ultimately, this will grow the visibility of women within recruitment, inspiring the next generation to join the industry.”
It’s been reported that women undersell themselves when it comes to their professional attributes. Having women in recruitment means they can work against this innate belittling that female candidates can tend to do. It’s our job to make sure that a candidate stands out and shines above the other applicants, therefore getting more women into roles they wouldn’t necessarily put themselves forward for.
It’s amazing to be working with and knowing these incredibly talented women, knowing they will be supporting other women (and men!) to continue to make sure there is equality in their sectors. It would be remiss to mention that the men at Harvey John, who are also exceedingly talented. Everyone, I’m happy to say, fully embraces equality in the workplace and this is reflected in our company values - “Inclusive” is one of our fundamentals!
Harvey John is indeed a fantastic representation of what companies should be looking like today. Although there are always things to work at and strive towards, Harvey John knows how to move with the times and knows how to support all candidates and clients - regardless of gender.
Alex Louise is a member of the Operations team at Harvey John.
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