Recruitment is typically an industry where hours are long and the majority of days are in the office - the number of headhunt calls I have made whilst making dinner of an evening, stirring the Bolognese, sorting the days' post, tidying around, at the same time as speaking to passive candidates about opportunities and their career plans for the future were endless. Adding children to that mix would have been insane!
One thing the pandemic has done is given us that flexibility and time back, and now more than ever Recruitment can really be a family-friendly career. At Pro we have always considered ourselves ‘family friendly’, but over the last couple of years, that has really changed and developed much so that now you are truly supported as a parent. Flashback to 3 years ago, we were in the office every day, yes you could work from home, but it wasn’t the norm, there were more junior consultants in the business and a lot of the perks and benefits around going out, posh restaurants, meeting for drinks, and all those fab glam things you see recruiters do that may not be as conducive to family life as they could be.
Now the majority of our staff are experienced with long tenures, a bit more mature and grown-up – looking across our Senior Management team, nearly half now have children under 2, we have had 2 new arrivals this year so far and another on the way (I am due in a matter of weeks!)! Couple this with the effect of the flexibility the pandemic has allowed us, really does make Pro a much more family-inclusive company, with a real understanding for those with young children who still want a career but don’t want to be, or are required to be, chained to their desk every minute of the day!
I recently polled my LinkedIn followers on how supported they feel by their employer around maternity/ paternity /adoption/ shared parental leave benefits/policies and how happy they were. Shockingly only 33% of people felt supported by their company around parental benefits/rights, and interestingly 53% of people were only offered statutory pay for parental leave.
This is something that we wanted to change at Pro and to reflect the employee base we currently have. We have recently updated our maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental leave policies to give a little bit more to our employees, we are all working from home at least 4 days a week, we are offering part-time opportunities, and Managers and Directors are understanding about doing school runs or needing to be flexible on hours depending on childcare or any other emergencies – you are trusted to do your job, your way! Of course, doing all these things have been brilliant, especially for me, an expectant mum, with no idea what it will be like returning to work after my first child, but the fact I have the support from other Senior Managers and Directors around me is so encouraging. Yes, there is more we can do, and that will come in time, but changing so dramatically from the recruitment norms out there and making these small steps towards a change are exciting and leading the way in an industry that really hasn’t been the most family-friendly career choice!