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How can we encourage more women to enter a career in Technical Recruitment?

12/03/18 Natalie Tyler Sales & Marketing Manager

The shortage of digital skills is reaching crisis point and is symptomatic of a wider apathy in UK businesses. Overcoming stereotypical views of an industry dominated by men is vital to attracting more women into the technology arena and technical recruitment jobs.

The technical recruitment office of the 1980 and 90’s was predominantly male-dominated. According to the National Office of Statistics, in 1985 men filled two million more jobs than women. By June 2005, the ratio was much closer to 50:50. With the controversy over the gender pay gap in the UK continuing to make headlines, a report from Deloitte stated that at current rates of progress it won’t close until 2069. 

Natalie Tyler, Redline’s Talent Acquisition and Training Manager has worked in the boutique field of technical recruitment for over 10 years. We asked her how the technical and technology recruitment industry has changed in terms of gender equality.

“My initial experience of the industry was that it was male-dominated.” says Natalie. “Client contact was very frustrating, whether it was speaking to a client on the telephone or visiting their premises. I initially had a male colleague, or manager support at meetings to prove to the customer I had the knowledge and ability to do my job.”

“As my technical knowledge developed, via training and support at Redline, I found that most technology businesses were responsive to a female Consultant and this generated numerous conversations about identifying more female engineers. That challenge for the STEM industry is ongoing and will be never-ending.”

“In terms of female candidates, women were more likely to pick companies to work for that aligned with their idea of good corporate values, but women who didn’t see those values followed through at every stage of the company were more likely to leave. In many industries, including technology companies, we recruit similar numbers of men and women into the organisation but these are often into different parts of the business such as finance, human resources and sales rather that pure design and development. Unfortunately the attrition rate of these women tends to be higher.”

“A lot of companies thought this was because women were leaving to have families. More recent data tends to show that women have become very intolerant of situations where they feel less-qualified as men have been promoted over them, and frequently just leave.” says Natalie.

Based on current trends, it will take 47 years for women to reach parity with men in corporate officer positions. Yet if we’re trying to create a new way of operating in business, we need to overcome the barriers to creating organisational boards that better reflect the diversity of our society as a whole — and we need to start at home, within the movement.

Luckily, Redline has a very diverse mix of staff with over 40%+ being women and with over 35% in the management team. 

The challenges that women in recruitment face

According to the Westminster Business School study commissioned by Women in Recruitment, women tend to leave the industry before moving into senior positions. The survey uncovered the challenges that women face within recruitment, and found the following:

  • Lack of female role models:

Only 27 percent of respondents said they had a female role model in the workplace. This ironically correlates with the main point of the survey – if women are not getting promoted, how can there be role models for younger or less experienced consultants to seek to emulate?

  • Sector retains ‘old boys club’ culture:  

 A significant 41 percent of respondents stated that the existence of an ‘old boys ethos’ is detrimentally affecting their career prospects, with Boards overwhelmingly made up of men. The research stated ‘While there are good places, there are still pockets of unconstructed male chauvinism’. This can be incredibly alienating to women within the industry who may feel left out or discriminated against, leading to diminished trust in employers and limited career opportunities.

  • Family commitments:

66 percent of respondents stated their greatest reason prohibiting further career progression was due to family and caring responsibilities.  Women reported that taking a career break to raise their family had made it difficult when returning to the workplace. Most commonly, the lack of support on offer by their employers at a level they required was insufficient considering the high pressured and competitive nature of the recruitment sector.

We spoke with Caroline Hayward, CEO and Founder of The Chairman’s Network – the International, collaborative business network, connected to over 9000 SME, Chairmen, CEO's, Non-Executives, Advisory and Board Directors in all industry sectors, many of whom sit on up to 5 Boards. Caroline is also a member of Redline Executive’s Advisory Board, a unique Global Industry Talent Advisory Board. The board is compiled from a cross-section of C-suite and board level executives from a variety of international high technology industries. The Advisory Board represents extensive functional knowledge across Leadership, Operations, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Technology and Human Capital within the high-technology sector.

We asked Caroline “What key observations have you made about the changing plight of female executives as they seek to develop their careers?”

“Is plight the right word? Certainly, the Technology, Media, and Telecomms sector has relatively few senior and high powered women but I don’t think we would see that as plight!” says, Caroline. 
“It goes right back to childhood and how we treat girls over boys, from choice of toys to encouragement about certain careers and of course we do the same with boys.”

“Those girls that have been brought up in a technical or mathematical environment with no barriers to careers may go so far in the  Technology, Media and Telecomms sector and then choose to have kids and take many years out which reduces the funnel of female senior executives. Again not a plight but a reason there are fewer women at the top. A good one though. Having my boys was the best thing I did, but I was brought up to expect to ‘have it all’ and I still believe that can be achieved. It’s all about attitude, drive, motivation, and passion in the end.”

Caroline continues: “Find something you love to do and do it well with commitment and honesty and mostly, with focus, doors and opportunities will open for you. Finding a few mentors along the way can really help. Those who support your vision and will give you a bit of time and input or just a sounding board at the end of the phone.”

“Lots of men think we need help ‘fixing’ our careers or businesses but we don’t need that. We just need a listening ear from someone more experienced or wise that can offer some thoughts and ideas, but not a fix. And again, it’s not a plight in technology. It maybe in the media right now but in technology the management are looking for diversity and equality- it’s just that senior women are in relatively short supply.”

For an opportunity to work in an ever-growing business where culture of the collaboration, progression  and fun are as important as working hard, please click here or contact Redline’s Talent Acquisition & Training Manager, Natalie Tyler on 01582 878808 or email NTyler@redlinegroup.com