My interpretation of equality is fairness and opportunity – regardless of gender, age, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Above all, I truly believe the assessment of an individual needs to be free of unconscious (and conscious!) bias and should be based on merit, competency, attitude and whether this person can bring diversity of thought to a team.
I am proud to say that fifty percent of Proco Groups management team are female. The importance to our business of developing female talent is further evidenced by my personal career progression from Senior Consultant to Regional CEO of APAC and Executive Board member during the past 7 years.
My appointment as a Board member is something I am very proud of, but at the beginning I questioned my place. This feeling wasn’t driven by anything other than my own perception of being a young female leader. Fortunately this was a short lived as I was welcomed with open arms and treated no differently than my male peers – with trust and respect. I take my responsibility as a Board member very seriously and challenge myself to constantly improve, speak my mind and offer a different perspective to business decisions.
Across the recruitment industry however, I still feel there is an underrepresentation of women on boards. I’m also sad to say that none of my mentors or leaders I’ve aspired to have been female. In asking myself why? I invested time in speaking with other female recruiters in Hong Kong and found a consistent theme – a lack of support, mentorship and in some instances blockages to them progressing to management.
It was through these conversations that in 2017 I became a founding member of “Hong Kong Women in Recruitment” – a networking group with a goal of bringing value to the present and future female leaders of the industry through education, networking and resources. We currently have close to 200 members and host quarterly events at the offices of our sponsor, LinkedIn. It’s only small but it is one way we support future female board members of the industry. There are similar groups set up in Australia and London with Singapore to follow suit soon so if you are in the industry and aren’t a member take a look!
Having worked in APAC for over 10 years there is a noticeable cultural difference from the western world where many expect leaders to be male with grey hair. In the past I’ve experienced female talent being ruled out based on assumptions about their family situation and ability to travel or take evening calls. I’m pleased to say that the tides are changing with many organizations proactively seeking female and/or younger local talent who can experience rapid career trajectory.
Although the Supply Chain and Manufacturing sectors remain largely male-dominated, we are starting to experience more of a conscious effort to improve this with some organizations requesting shortlists with an equal male and female representation. Many are also engaging Proco to specifically identify female and diverse supply chain professionals as part of a longer term talent pipelining project.
In conclusion while it is difficult to eradicate the unconscious bias that is exhibited for the diversity groups mentioned above, here at Proco we ensure an unbiased assessments of candidates, present diverse shortlists and encourage our clients to work with different groups of people – for example I have a relationship with a HK based group that supports mothers with career breaks who are trying to get back in to full-time roles.
I’d love to hear from you if you would like help with your diversity strategy, have connections to diverse groups looking for work or if you have suggestions on how else we can create a more equal world.
Visit procothinking.com to find out how Proco are celebrating women’s achievements #EachforEqual