A woman working in a man’s world…

In 2015 I joined a business (Cognitive Group) that wanted me to promote the hiring of females in recruitment and I was tasked with 3 objectives:

1 – Hire our first female director – I hired 2!

2 – Get the headcount split to 50/50 or 51% female if possible – I got to 42%

3 – Look at out talent attraction process and what we can do to hire and retain females in the business – including female-friendly benefits and a culture that was open, transparent and allowed everyone to have a voice. – rolled out enhanced maternity packages, flexi hours and other benefits relating to childcare.

Jon the CEO is an absolute advocate of women in business, surrounded by successful females outside of work including his partner, sister and friends, he knew the value that women bring and he genuinely wanted to do his part to bring equality to male-dominated markets.

What I didn’t realise upon taking this role was this tapped into a fire in the belly that I didn’t know I had and also how unique Jon was, having a genuine passion for developing and promoting females in his business – I’ve not come across anyone else with that passion as yet.

I’ve been the only girl on a team, I’ve had to edit myself and my emotions, and if I’m 100% honest, I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a man’s world for my whole career. Looking back, I’ve never had a female manager in a recruitment business, which for me is an absolute travesty! This made me think of some of the challenges I faced by only having male leadership and questions I have unanswered.

  • Who can I learn from that has the same make up (not literally) as me?
  • Who can I talk to that understands what it’s like to doubt yourself in a world full of men that rate themselves and loudly at that?!
  • Who can I get empathy from and understands my emotional challenges without thinking I’m a nutter?
  • Who can I talk to, to tell them how scared I am about choosing a baby over my career?
  • Who can I talk to that understands what it’s like to become a mother for the first time and to have a career?
  • Who can I talk to about returning to work after having a baby in an honest setting?

Fundamentally, I want a manager who understands where I’m coming from because they have been there and they have made it and they can help me make it too!

Some female facts from around the world.

Global consulting firm Hay Group found that women outperform men in 11 of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies! Emotional intelligence is one of THE most important qualities that a good leader has and it adds a massive advantage having high EQ and being a recruiter.

According to McKinsey & Company’s latest Women in the Workplace study, which surveyed over 64,000 employees and 279 companies employing 13 million people, only one in five senior leaders is a woman, and one in 25 is a woman of colour – absolutely shocking!

Pew Research Center’s Women and Leadership survey, saw 34% of workers say that women have an edge over men when it comes to being honest and ethical, while just 3% believe men are more honest and ethical. Could be something to consider when you wonder why your clients don’t trust you!

A study on female representation in top management found that companies that prioritised innovation saw greater financial gains when women were part of the top leadership ranks. Additionally, another report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute discovered that companies with one or more women on the board delivered higher average returns on equity, lower net debt equity and better average growth – well we do try!

And finally, closing the gender gap can increase GDP by an average of 35% !!

You don’t hire women for a tick box, you hire them because they bring a different dynamic to a business, to negotiation, to relationships and to leadership and ultimately to the bottom line.

With this in mind why aren’t there more women in leadership positions in recruitment? Looking back at the stand out recruiters and top performers I’ve worked with 80% of them have been female! There are huge numbers entering the industry, female trainees massively dominate males in my experience. Why don’t more females become directors and MD’s? Is it they don’t want to, or do they not have the opportunity?

I’m really interested in hearing all opinions on this from guys and girls, who is the best female leader you have worked with and why? What are the best and worst parts about having a female boss? What do you think about diversity in the workplace?

Ps headline was chosen for dramatic effect! I’ve heard that’s important

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