Representing the industry’s largest recruitment agency, I am almost embarrassed to state that less that 5% of our total placements a year are women.
This figure would probably be lower if it were not for the fact that the direct mail sector recruits a higher percentage of women than other sectors and even then, most of these placements are in account management. With respect, hardly positions of weight and influence.
There is no point in denying that the industry is letting itself down in this respect but, more than that, it is missing out on recruiting a workforce that potentially offers greater loyalty, commitment and endeavour. We are supposedly living in more enlightened times where we espouse the importance of equality between the sexes. The reality is that the workplace is still male dominated.
Even the Government, which is not shy in lecturing industry about equality, does not have many female ministers or even notable female MPs. I think that part of the problem is that no one knows the rules. Maybe our leaders of industry feel that women should be looking after the children and the home instead of being in the workplace.
As a father of three, my wife, who still enjoys her career in a well-paid position, has often stated that pregnancy is a condition not a debilitating illness. Imagine a man coping with a stressful job and raising a young family — pitiable isn’t it? I know. I have tried and failed miserably. Translate that talent into industry and what you have is a dynamic workforce where results and deadlines will be met. Loyalty in all its aspects is very important to women and, if given the opportunity, they will give you this back in abundance. Women offer hard work, creativity, commitment and an ability to get the job done. What has to be overcome is the male resistance, clearly the main obstacle.