As the CEO of a global recruitment company, I was really pleased that we were able to do something this year to throw our support behind International Women’s Day. So many of the global businesses that we work with have a shortage of female leaders that they are struggling to address, and speak to us frequently about their desire to recruit more women into senior positions.

If only they could find them. In many regions, there just simply isn’t the pool of talent available to redress the balance, and it’s a problem that starts in schools, when women simply don’t opt – in equal numbers to men – for the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Careers in supply chain are not necessarily seen as desirable, to the same extent that they attract men.

Our campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day saw us interview scores of female leaders working in supply chain at global corporations as diverse as Converse, Mondi and Coca-Cola Refreshments. We believe Proco Global has a role to play in showcasing the female talent that is out there, and promoting the agenda of diversity, given that expanding the talent pool has such huge advantages for all of us. We want to be part of the conversation, and so we sought, back in March, to provide senior women leaders with a platform to voice their concerns, to keep inclusion at the top of the agenda.

As a recruiter, we are in the very fortunate position of being able to talk about these issues with the benefit of independence. And we learned a number of things as a result of those interviews: about how the changing role of supply chain is creating an opportunity for women; about the need for, and responsibilities of, role models; about the very real problem of implicit bias in recruitment processes; and about the calls for women (from their peers) to have courage, take risks, and challenge the status quo.

The role of the recruiter as a genuine partner to our clients is fundamental as all the organisations that we work with seek to expand their cultures of inclusion and broaden their search for talent. Simply the fact of our involvement in a recruitment search allows for the net to be cast wider than it might otherwise be, and we are never afraid to challenge implicit bias when we encounter it.

We see our role very much being about seeking out the candidates that might not necessarily fit the particular tick-box job specification that has been drafted, and who may not immediately be the obvious choice. We build strong relationships with our clients so that they trust us both to gently challenge their preconceptions, and to put individuals in front of them who they might not otherwise consider.

Proco Global is a different kind of recruitment firm – focused on supply chain, and premised on strong relationships across our industry sectors, based on trust and credibility. It is easy to say, but we really mean it. It is only because of this approach that we have been able to grow to twelve offices around the world, and a team of more than 150 expert professionals, in less than a decade. And now that we have those professionals all over the world, focused purely on supply chain, you can be sure we are trawling endlessly to find the best people to fit the roles we’re asked to fill, regardless of their gender, race or sexuality.

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