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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%. That’s according to an analysis of female representation within the profession by Women in Recruitment, an APSCo initiative, supported by other stakeholders in the recruitment sector which aims to provide talent acquisition firms practical support in attracting, developing and retaining their female talent.

Women in Recruitment’s new benchmarking report reveals that representation at board level is in single digits for many firms despite over two thirds of recruitment companies (70%) having more than 50% female representation at support staff level and two-fifths having more than 50% at recruitment/ resourcer level.

The report also found that over two fifths of recruitment firms have an overall attrition rate of between 21% and 100%. However, when focussing on female attrition, a third of those (33%) are women within sales functions, while only 16% are females within support functions.

Just over a quarter (26%) of respondents said that they had specific initiatives aimed at retaining women in the workplace, which included being part of initiatives such as Women in Recruitment; family friendly policies, working around school hours and female role models & mentors.

While Over 80% of recruitment firms offer some form of flexible working ranging from remote working from home arrangements, part time & flexible hours and job shares, less than a quarter offer any form of enhanced maternity benefits.

Commenting on the analysis, Julie Selby, Director of Women in Recruitment, said:

"For firms working to improve gender equality within their organisations, measuring progress is, of course, crucial. Benchmarking success against your contemporaries however, is arguably an even more powerful catalyst for driving change. This initial report is the first stage in building an
accurate picture of what our workforces look like today, and then to track progress both within our own organisations and across the entire sector.”

“Increasing female representation at board level, and throughout the company, is not only the ‘right’ thing to do, it also makes complete business sense. This creates teams which have greater diversity in thought which can allow targets to be reached with creativity and more efficiency. However, despite numerous studies showing the correlation between companies with a larger proportion of female directors and better business outcomes, figures show that many of the UK’s top firms are nowhere near the Hampton-Alexander Review’s target of a third of board-level and leadership positions to be filled by women.”

“As recruiters, we have a responsibility to establish the profession as a ‘beacon of excellence’ for gender equality and to set an example to the sectors and businesses we partner with. While there has been improvement in creating more awareness on the need for equal opportunities amongst men and women in recent years, it is clear from these results that there is still a significant amount of work left to do until true parity is achieved.”


Press Contact

Fahida Begum

01582 790958

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