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International Women's Day 2021 - We Choose to Challenge

Posted by Alison Humphries

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated each year on March 8th. It is a day marked to celebrate the “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” and “a call to action for accelerating gender parity”. This year, the focus is on choosing to challenge gender stereotypes and support equality.

Figures from the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) employment trends survey  in 2019 show 93% of businesses are taking action to close the gender pay gap and increase diversity in their workforces, compared with 62% who were asked a similar question in 2017. Companies recognise the business case for building a diverse workforce – innovation, candidate & client attraction, & ultimately higher return or profits.

Many candidates are putting more pressure on companies to show they are pushing diversity and gender equality – with two-thirds of women taking a company’s gender pay gap into consideration, according to research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. But businesses are also facing a real skill set problem, said Matthew Percival, the Head of Employment at the CBI.

As an employer, we are committed to ensuring representation of people from all backgrounds regardless of their gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, age, neurodiversity, disability status, or any other aspect which makes them unique. We are proud to be sharing an inclusive working environment where our staff are equally male:female split and we celebrate an equally split Board.

Almost a third (30%) of recruitment firms have less than 5% female leaders at board level and another third (32%), only have between 21-50%. With my recent appointment to MD (following my return from Maternity Leave), promoting Claire Stradling as Director on our Board, and 50:50 male:female management team, it’s our responsibility as recruiters to pave the way for a more diverse recruitment landscape.

As your recruiting partner we choose to challenge gender stereotypes, we are committed to fair, open and honest recruitment processes. The pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective for some organisations, with the change in working landscape and the wider pool of openly available candidates, the recruitment gaps are slowly decreasing.

As a candidate, here’s what you can expect from us:

Encouragement to present yourself as yourself

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to apply and would encourage you to let us know if there are steps we can take to ensure that your recruitment process enables you to present yourself in a way that makes you comfortable.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR)  reported that women are rated as being more effective leaders than men during the COVID-19 crisis, with 57.2% of respondents in a survey saying women ranked positively in overall leadership effectiveness ratings, compared with 51.5% for men. That’s not to say anyone is superior because of gender, that’s why we have good male and female representation on the Board here at Pro-Group.

Fair hiring and interviewing processes

In our HBR’s Language Matters Report, they found that 44% of women would be discouraged from applying to a job if the description included the word “aggressive.” Our consultants are trained with an understanding to use neutral language to encourage the best candidates and represent you for you.

We will speak to you to understand your needs before submitting your CV to a client. This gives us a chance to meet you, talk through your CV in more detail, and get to know a little more about you – your strengths, areas for development, and so on. 

CVs and CV writing

CV Writing support is offered from the get go, you will receive support and preparation from your expert consultant, every step of the way throughout your recruitment journey.. You’ve probably heard the following statistic: Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

We encourage you to explore your skills and will give you the confidence you need to reach your career potential. Not only that, but we also put your CV into our standardised format before sending your details to any of our clients, It’s our duty as your recruiter to eliminate any form of prejudice and make the process fairer by standardising all candidate information.

Feedback from interviews

Nearly a third (30%) of young women do not get feedback after a job interview, compared to less than a fifth (18%) of male applicants, according to research from the City & Guilds Group and Business in the Community (BITC). After your interview with our client, we will seek out feedback, and feed this back to you constructively. If you’ve been successful in securing the job, great! If not, we’ll aim to help you to understand where your skills are better aligned to suit you with the best organisation for your needs.

The pandemic may have exposed some of the imbalances that have existed in the system for a long time, and we need to continue the conversation even after the pandemic is over and we will support you every step of the way through your recruitment journey with us.

For advice or for a more detailed discussion with Alison about her experience, email alison.humphries@pro-tax.co.uk or call on 07852 249 421

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