This year’s IWD theme is #BalanceForBetter. The better the balance, the better the world. But balance isn’t an issue for women to address. Instead, it’s an issue for businesses. International Women’s Day 2019 is all about raising awareness of the need for gender-balanced boardrooms, gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage and a gender-balance of employees. A balance of genders is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
At Workforce, we think an equal gender-balance in the workplace is extremely important. Charlotte Jarvis, one of our Operations Director, says why she feels there is a good balance at Workforce. “Although a high percentage of our candidate base is male, I don’t feel like a woman in a male-dominated world. There are lots of women in our office and it doesn’t really matter. I think more men are in the top positions purely because they’ve got the drive to get out there and go for it. Luckily in the UK, the same educational opportunities are available to both men and women, but this isn’t always the case across the world, which is something that International Women’s Day tries to address.”
All employees at Workforce are treated equally, regardless of gender. Charlotte explains: “At Workforce, we don’t have a rule that women with children should have priority over holiday dates. We all need to plan our time off and it just works. I think women are good at moving things around and the childcare shouldn’t all fall to us. I think that women can put pressure on each other and that sort of competition isn’t doing us any favours at all!”
We also spoke to Workforce’s Client Services Director, Nicky Grogan, who has worked at Workforce for around six years. She joined in a business development role when her children were young, and she was lucky to find a role that she really enjoyed; the focus on business development suited her skills. Nicky explains that she was given the autonomy to create the role of her dreams and this soon led to focusing on Coventry and opening a new Workforce branch there. This led to Nicky finding premises and recruiting a team – quite a change after just six months with the company!
Nicky explains more: “What I liked was being able to just get on and make the opportunity happen in the way I thought it was best. I was given support and guidance but I was able to set it all up as I wanted and the team were really happy. After I’d set up a Rugby branch to support our cluster approach, I was then asked to be a director. What’s important at Workforce is that you have a ‘can do’ attitude and the directors saw this and helped to push me outside of my comfort zone. The role I’ve ended up with now has naturally happened – it’s in response to my skills as they’ve developed and the opportunities I have helped to open up.”
Nicky continues, “Joe and Paul own Workforce, but their mum ran her own business, and I think she’s inspired them to create a culture here that is supportive of families in the workplace. There’s a degree of flexibility here if there’s an assembly or sports day at your child’s school, but at the same time, they know that when we’re all here, we’re all completely committed and focused on our work. A great example is Trudy being made director while on maternity leave. I’ve not seen that before, and there’s no culture of pretending you aren’t interested in children for fear of damaging your career progression. I think it’s a really positive culture and helps us to retain the best staff.”
Trudy Harding, Branch Operations Director, has worked at Workforce for nearly 10 years. Trudy thinks that there are a lot of skills that women possess that makes them a great fit for working in recruitment. She thinks women are able to multi-task really well and this pays off in the recruitment industry.
Trudy has worked in recruitment for 28 years, and previously worked for a large high-street competitor. Trudy applied for a call centre role with Workforce and took on a part-time role that fitted in around her young children. Over time, this increased, and she was offered the role of account manager and then consultant. When she went on maternity leave again, she left the role of Branch Manager of Redditch. However, as Nicky explained above, during Trudy’s maternity leave, the directors offered her the role of Branch Operations Director.
We’ll be hearing more from Charlotte, Nicky and Trudy in future blog posts about why small businesses are great places to work, and how they think the recruitment sector is changing and evolving.