Source | LinkedIn : By Julie Trenbath
I commenced my recruitment career fifteen years ago in an environment that was so abundant with successful female role models that I took it for granted. In Select Appointments, where I worked at the time, we had remarkably talented women like Deb Loveridge and Victoria Bethlehem in senior leadership roles, and the real industry heavy weights at the time were people such as Julia Ross and Julie Mills. In 2005 along with a female CEO 80% of the RCSA board was female.
Fast forward to 2016…… Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to present to the global CEO of my then company and eight other very senior managers. As I looked around the room it dawned on me that in the senior panel of nine there was only one woman.
In recent months I’ve started my own business as a service provider to the recruitment industry and I can see a similar trend. Yesterday morning at the Recruitment Yarns event there was one woman on a facilitator panel of six. In 2016 the RCSA CEO is male and only 3 of the current 11 Board Members are women (27%), the ITCRA CEO is female and only 1 of the current 10 Board Members is female (10%).
The discussion about gender equity in leadership is not a new one. One of my favourite TED talks is Sheryl Sandberg’s “Why we have too few women leaders”. Sandberg acknowledges all of the complexities that are associated with this issue, such as women are still doing twice as much in the home and taking three times the responsibility for child care compared to their male partners.
None of these challenges are new. If anything, societal norms and the resulting gender equity in corporate leadership has only improved over the last ten years. So I am interested in why an industry that has traditionally been known for its strong female leadership participation has moved quite significantly the other way?? Why even though there are still a significant number of impressive women leading recruitment businesses they seem to be less visible than ever?