Women In Recruitment | International Women’s Day: ‘Old-boys’ club in rec needs addressing
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International Women’s Day: ‘Old-boys’ club in rec needs addressing

According to a new report by the TUC, women in the UK effectively work for free for more than two months a year, due to the country’s gender pay gap.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, which examined full and part-time workers, the pay gap stands at 18.4%. “This … means that women effectively work for free for the first 67 days of the year,” said the TUC.

One of the main problems is a lack of female representation – especially at senior levels. This problem also pervades the recruitment sector. An analysis on 11 million UK workers by James Crichton, Director at Perpendo Talent Solutions, found a relatively even split amongst male and female workers at consultant level (51% male, 49% female).

However, the data, which was posted on his blog, JobsTheWord, found that the issue of gender inequality rises up the ranks. He found that the top level of recruitment (Chairman, CEO, MD, Founder, Owner) is disproportionately male, with men holding over 80% of the positions.

At Board level, the balance was still uneven, with around three men on the Board for every woman, with females holding 27% of senior roles in companies with ten-99 employees and 23% in firms with 100+ employees.

“It would appear that there is a reasonable degree of gender diversity in the general population within UK recruitment firms, but that this has not made its way through to the leadership,” Crichton comments. “Unless we believe that men are more capable of leading recruitment firms than women, the industry is (or to be more accurate, has been) biased progressing men in to leadership positions over their female colleagues.”

“If your Board looks like the cast of Dad’s army, a lack of diversity may be having a significant impact on your business so now is the time to act!”

Previous research from Women in Recruitment and Westminster Business School has found that up to 66% of females working in recruitment believe that family and caring responsibilities can negatively impact on talented women’s promotion and career prospects.

Other perceived contributing factors included lack of confidence (40%) and an ‘old boy’ network-style atmosphere (41%).

Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo and WIR Executive Committee Member, believes that recruitment firms must try harder to bring more females into the industry. “Our profession has been built on the tenacity, strength and expertise of a myriad of female recruitment professionals,” she says. “However, our pipelines continue to leak this precious talent, often at a time when these women can add the most value.”

Areas Swain cited as ones that could be improved upon included effective succession planning and better management of flexibility. These “are the key ingredients to guide and empower women to continue their roles.”

“It is clear that we have a responsibility to establish the recruitment profession as a ‘beacon of excellence’ for gender equality, so that we are able to disseminate best practice throughout the wider workforce.”