09 Apr Women in Recruitment meet Angela Middleton
To mark International Women’s Day 2018, we gathered female recruitment leaders from across the UK at three concurrent, lively panel style events in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Global CEO of APSCo, Ann Swain who is also a member of the Women in Recruitment Executive Committee, chaired the panel discussion at the London event. She was joined on stage by Angela Middleton, CEO & Chair MiddletonMurray; Yvette Cleland, CEO, Clinical Professionals; Melanie Forbes, MD Contingent Workforce Solutions, AMS; Jo Mortimer, Director, Angela Mortimer and Toni Cocozza, CEO & Founder, DP Connect.
Ann introduced the event, which was sponsored by NatWest by saying, ‘I’m proud to chair a panel of such outstanding women who have achieved great success in our profession. We’re here today so that they can share what’s made them so successful in an industry which historically, hasn’t always been the most welcoming profession to women. However the working environment is changing for the better and we want to encourage all women in recruitment to have higher expectations, to push through boundaries and help create an industry that provides opportunities for women to fulfil their aspirations! I hope that today will provide some real inspiration for you all.’
The discussion started with a one to one discussion with Angela Middleton, Founder & Owner of MiddletonMurray Group, an award winning apprenticeship training provider. Founded in 2002 it has grown to 136 people across 14 offices in the UK.
Angela introduced herself with ‘what’s not on her bio’ – that she has two children who both now work within MiddletonMurray and that at the age of 55, has discovered weightlifting and praised the transformative effects of this new found sport.
Angela then recounted how she was first attracted to the recruitment profession following a successful career in the corporate world at BP and Barclays. ‘Initially the plan was to open a shoe shop, but I was drawn to recruitment as it better suited my strengths. It’s about making a difference, people, networking, always being switched on and that’s the person that I am. When I first started the business I could see the huge potential for it to go nationwide by using the (new at the time) internet, but I also had young children and of course it was a balancing act. There were some guilt trips and sacrifices but I have always focussed on achieving my goals, both personal and professional. In a previous position I was held back from promotion due to pregnancy and when I returned I had to push hard for the promotion! I found that shocking but I didn’t take it too personally, and I certainly didn’t let it hold me back. In fact, on the contrary, this drove me to create my own enlightened business, focused on supporting individuals and promoting health and wellbeing.’
Angela is an advocate of life-long-learning and encouraged the audience to continually raise their hands for opportunities, even when they didn’t feel good enough. ‘Put yourself out there and you never know what might happen.’ She gave an example of when she’d done just that and reaped the benefits. By putting herself forward to represent Apprenticeships on a 6 month Government programme, Angela was selected and is now travelling to destinations such as Brussels, Washington and China as part of the programme!
Within the working environment at MiddletonMurray, Angela has focussed on developing a nurturing culture for both men and women so that all people are valued and treated as individuals. ‘We aligned the business goals to individual goals and watched retention go through the roof. For example we wanted to promote mental and physical health across the business so we set ourselves a challenge to walk 30 million steps in 1 month. That’s 10,000 steps per day for each member of staff. The whole team were really engaged, sharing photos and updates on social media, which helped in achieving our goal! This wasn’t a female initiative, or a male initiative, it was for everyone. We’re also promoting activities such as mediation or Tough Mudder, rather than just going down the pub on a Friday like in the old days.’
Angela then went on to discuss some of the challenges women face when assuming a leadership role. ‘Do you have to take on the stereotypical powerful, strong leading woman persona? Previously there were times when you have to push masculine traits and wear business suits for example, but this need has declined over the years. I have found that actually being more feminine and being softer in approach has actually improved results dramatically. Although personally I have noticed it is more difficult for women to get the balance of warmth/authority right compared our male colleagues’.
Ann concluded the discussion by asking Angela to share her key pieces of advice for success and fulfilment, which are summarised below:
- Be patient. Things always take longer than you think but if you want something enough and work for it, you will get there.
- Raise your hand. Put yourself forward for things even if you fear you’re not quite good enough.
- Have your say. Men want to hear what women have to say – you bring a different perspective.
- Stay strong. Focusing on your mental and physical health will enable you to make better decisions.
- Run your own race. Focus on yourself and your own success, not the opinions or progress of others.
- Never stop learning. There is always more to learn and ways to improve and its fun!