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Two in Three Women in Recruitment Believe Family Responsibilities Impact Career Progression


–          35% of respondents have difficulty in achieving work/life balance
–          63% believe flexible working opportunities would encourage more women to stay in the profession
–          66% agreed mentors would have a significant impact on improving retention

Up to 66% of females working in recruitment believe that family and caring responsibilities negatively impact on talented women’s promotion and career prospects. That is according to new research from Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, which was commissioned by Women in Recruitment with generous sponsorship from Barclays plc and Squire Patton Boggs.

Women in Recruitment, supported by APSCo, is committed to supporting females working in the profession to achieve their full potential. This in-depth research project, which collected responses of over 500 professionals working in the sector, is the first step towards improving retention by better understanding why women leave the profession.

Although family and caring responsibilities were found to have the most negative impact on career prospects, the study also revealed that other perceived contributing factors include lack of confidence (40%) and an ‘old boy’ network-style atmosphere (41%).

However, despite these perceived hurdles, there is some disparity between what respondents are seeing within their own organisation and how they view the wider sector. Encouragingly, respondents are significantly more positive about their own company than the profession as a whole. For example, only 11% said being a woman was an issue within their own organisation, but 26% revealed it was a problem sector-wide. This suggests that progress is being made, even if examples of best practice are not necessarily shared.

In terms of solutions, 63% of respondents believe flexible working opportunities would encourage more women to stay in the profession and 66% said mentors would have a significant impact on improving retention.

In response to the study’s findings, Women in Recruitment has already outlined a programme of support for individual and company members to address the issues that female professionals habitually face. The programme includes personal development opportunities, access to mentors and networking events. The personal development courses will touch on topics including self-awareness, assertiveness, self-management and career planning.

Commenting on the results, Ann Swain, (APSCo CEO and Women in Recruitment Board member) said:

“This isn’t a box-ticking exercise. There is a clear business case for developing and retaining more women in our profession. Our talent pipeline continues to leak females – often at a time when they can add most value to the business. This new insight has helped Women in Recruitment to develop a range of compelling mentoring, personal development and networking services based on the needs of individuals and companies working in the sector.”

Commenting on the research project, Barbara Allan, Dean of Westminster Business School, said:

“APSCo and Women in Recruitment are to be applauded for their work in promoting diversity within the recruitment industry. They have worked with Westminster Business School, University of Westminster on a number of issues which focus on the theme of diversity in the recruitment sector. This report is an example of the work which can be achieved by organisations which are committed to supporting diversity and inclusivity.”

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