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Why are 77% of Leadership roles in Recruitment held by men?

In 2022, recruitment, like many other industries, still remained a male-dominated sector. Gender diversity in the recruitment industry, especially at senior level, continues to be a working progress, with a chilling 77% of board level roles in Recruitment Worldwide held by men.

Success in recruitment is all about your performance, attitude and behaviors, whatever your gender. Whilst many industries make this claim, recruitment truly is a career in which everyone is the architect of their own fortune - by building their own business within the business.

No doubt the gender pay gap poses a significant challenge for many women however because earning potential in recruitment is based on results – everyone has the same earning potential regardless of their gender.

Another advantage of the recruitment industry for women consists in the transparent career model. The promotion to the next career level, for example from Consultant to Senior Consultant, always depends on the achievement of clearly defined targets.

All of the above, technically sets the perfect scenario for equity…but why is the reality not reflecting it?

A recent survey run by Westminster Business School, identified that women leave recruitment before reaching Senior positions, the reasons?

  • There is a lack of female role models: Only 27% of respondents said they had a female role model in the workplace.

  • The sector still retains an ‘old boys club’ culture: A significant 41% of respondents stated that the existence of an ‘old boys ethos’ is detrimentally affecting their career prospects. There are still pockets of unconstructed male chauvinism and this can obviously be incredibly alienating to women within the industry who may feel left out or discriminated against, leading to diminished trust in employers and limited career opportunities.

  • Commitments are a key concern: According to 66% of respondents, family and caring responsibilities do not let them continue their careers in a sales environment due to the lack of support from their employers to resume their activity in a high pressure and competitive environment such as the recruitment sector.

So how can Recruitment Agencies attract and retain their female employees?

That is a question many are asking themselves. While there is not a magic trick to fix it all at once, here are some tips you could start implementing:

  • Review your Job Adverts and interview process to ensure they are inclusive

  • If you lack female leaders, put in place an external mentorship program

  • Apply a zero tolerance policy to discrimination

  • Educate male allies

  • Avoid (man)explaining things they are experts on

  • Offer flexibility and remote working options

  • Put in place a gender neutral parental leave

  • Provide training and empower them through their development

But don't forget that the best way to start off is by listening to them - genuinely asking your female employees, what can you do to support?



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