As I celebrate my 20th year in recruitment this year, I have witnessed the movement towards encouraging not only a greater proportion of women in the workplace, but a drive towards creating an equal balance. 

Throughout my career, I have had an abundance of female leaders and mentors – which is somewhat atypical of the recruitment industry. I learned a lot from my previous mentors and gained the confidence to speak up when necessary. One leader in particular, and what I learned from her, still resonates with me today. 

The manner in which she managed her team was balanced and open-minded that nurtured development. She gave free reign, letting you work in an autonomous way, yet was supportive at any given point if needed. 

As a strong leader, I found that it is beneficial to stand your ground, regardless of whether you are male or female or of a different culture, race or the like. In the instance of the aforementioned leader, if she didn’t agree with something she would sit you down to explain why, but ensure that you understood both perspectives. In a leadership role, I believe that this is crucial to facilitate the understanding of the wider picture even if you don’t agree with it specifically. 

Within recruitment, it is important to note that whilst you can collaborate and come together with clients and stakeholders to reinforce a diverse workforce and shortlist, it is always down to the shareholders at the end of the day for some companies. This can be difficult to ensure an equally diverse and balanced team. But at Proco, we do our best to encourage this as much as possible. 

Across the last two decades, I have seen a change with regards to gender balance but the progression has been slow – especially in such a male-dominated industry. Despite clients moving towards diverse shortlists, we choose our candidates based on skill and don’t cherry pick based on anything else apart from competency for the role. 

Whilst companies strive towards having a balanced workforce, or one with more female team members, it can be easy to fall into the trap of positive discrimination. Getting around this has been on the agenda for a lot of businesses. They are not only ensuring that the talent population is not of one gender, culture, or background, but many are looking to hire diversity and inclusion officers for their talent teams to reinforce this dynamic. 

Having started as the only woman on the sales team in the initial part of my career, and having been in leadership roles since 2006, I found that the proportion of females within recruitment has grown. During that time, I noticed how much a team full of a variety of backgrounds can bring with regards to opinions and innovative solutions. The different perspectives opened my eyes up to new and exciting possibilities in that respect, much of what I hadn’t thought about previously.

I’m a big believer in two things: it’s not what you say, but how you say it, and I also believe that there’s black and white, but there is also grey in the world. From my perspective, nothing is binary – there will always be someone that will stand out amongst the spectrum of personalities and backgrounds that can add something that you hadn’t previously considered before. 

We have a lot that we can gain from diversity of thought and should work collaboratively to propel the industry and our work environments to new possibilities, rather than pitting against each other based on surface-level categories that we are often unconsciously assigned. We must work together – both individually and collectively –  to move forwards towards an equal future.  

Visit procothinking.com to find out how Proco are celebrate women’s achievement.#EachforEqual

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