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What’s it like to be a woman in recruitment?

Stop splitting humans into blue and pink…

According to research carried out by Sue O’Brien, the CEO of global recruitment firm Norman Broadbent, it can often take 8 phone calls to persuade a woman to apply for a job – compared to just 2 calls to prompt a man into putting his name forward.

Recruitment as an industry has seen an indefinite mindset shift in recent years. The sector has moved away from the misogynistic boys’ club mentality that perhaps populated the 80s and 90s. There are more increased opportunities for females within recruitment, through mentoring and leadership programs and platforms supporting a more inclusive working environment. A career in recruitment is more than just sales.

But despite the positive change, we are still surrounded by gender bias and imbalance:

27% of women working in tech say they always or often experience gender bias in the workplace.

The two biggest barriers women say they face in the technology workplace are lack of mentors (48%) and lack of female role models (42%).

For every £1 earned by a man, a woman earns 81p.

Only 29% of British MPs are women.

At SGI we promote a culture of diversity and inclusion, focussing on improving our daily and frequent challenges, investing in leadership opportunities for our females, and understanding and appreciating the mistakes that firms make concerning D&I.

As we’ve recently celebrated International Women’s Day, we thought it is a perfect to recognize some of our talented females across SGI.

We caught up with Leanne Delaney, Contracts Manager for Xplore Life Science. Leanne is about to head up our New York operation for the Xplore team.

Leanne joins us to discuss female representation across recruitment and her SGI experience.

How has the industry changed about its treatment and attitudes of women?

L: Recruitment has changed in the industries. There is less of the old style of recruitment, the male cowboy like recruitment. I believe that relationships have become more prominent in how we acquire new business. There is more of an emphasis on understanding business and the relationships formed with clients.

Women in recruitment are building on strengths because they are strong at forming relationships. You could say building strength on strength.

Do you believe there are equal opportunities for women in recruitment?

L:  Sadly not no, I still don’t think there are equal opportunities for women.

I think SGI is an anomaly where we have senior male leaders who are happy to encourage female success in the business, I myself feel fortunate to have experienced this at SGI.

What needs to be done to take the industry to the next level?

L: There needs to be a recognition that females are not necessarily better at something, but their involvement in the business make men, diversity, and collaboration better facilitated.

How has working at SGI been different from other experiences in your career?

L: SGI is driven by a culture of success, where people are excited for your success – not annoyed that you’re succeeding above them, and that is a big shift in a male-dominated industry. A supportive culture creates a definite positivity throughout our recruitment group, and I think that stands us aside from others.

Do you think being a woman in recruitment has given you any benefits over other team members?

L:  Positive discrimination still has a huge impact in recruitment, it has provided opportunities for me that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. For example, opportunities to be involved in an interview process and in strategy meetings because I am a female. If I was male, I wouldn’t have had those opportunities.

What challenges do you think women still face in the recruitment industry?

L: Women will always face challenges – not just in recruitment but in other industries too.

A most recent video played across social media, really highlights female struggles. Cynthia Nixon presents a profound piece of film, that captures feminine struggles. Females are told what to do, what type of persona they should have, that they’re not decisive enough, the list goes on.

To me, strength is found within your personal persona and personal brand – that’s what makes you good at recruitment, and to be true to yourself – that’s what makes success.

Have you ever experienced sexism in the workplace?

L: Yes, previous experience from both men and women.

Do you feel anyone treats you differently as a woman in recruitment?

L: Yes I do, but recently it’s changed in a more positive way and light. Since joining SGI and the team at Xplore I feel that gender barriers have been removed and dissolved. My SGI has experience hasn’t been tarnished or negatively affected because I am a female, instead it has heightened it and provided key opportunities.

At SGI, our male leaders see the value of good recruiters, gender doesn’t matter and isn’t part of a judgment or decision.

In the wider industry, there is, unfortunately, the common situation of businesses requiring females to remove feminine traits and absorb a different personality and persona.

Thanks, Leanne, for your insight into gender and the recruitment industry.

At SGI we’re passionate about our talent and growing a diverse and inclusive workforce. Our talent and SGI team is built through experts, passionate for the utmost customer service and experience.

The SGI Way portrays and shares our continuous improvement to create and strengthen a unique high performance, inclusive culture.



By: Rebecca Lauder-Fletcher

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