In recent years, the impassioned debate around gender diversity, particularly in the workplace, has dominated the news agenda around the world. From the fall out of shocking revelations in the entertainment industry to the recent introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting in the UK, there has been a real sea change in society’s acceptance and tolerance of discrimination in all its forms. For many, enough is enough and real progress isn’t just something to strive for – it’s being demanded.

Whilst it’s clear there’s a long way to go in a multitude of areas, it’s also important to recognise where progress is being made and the lessons that can be learned. This is something The Times Top 50 Employers list strives to achieve in recognising organisations which promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion, and create opportunities for women in a wider context. 

At PageGroup, we’re delighted and honoured to have been included in this year’s top 50. The recognition comes six years on from the launch of [email protected], an initiative geared towards attracting, developing, supporting and, ultimately, retaining female talent. Speaking to The Recruiter about the scheme recently, Sarah Kirk, PageGroup’s global inclusion and diversity director, explained that whilst there was a clear moral obligation, there was a strong business context too. “We were losing too many women at senior level, or who were becoming mothers for the first time, and we needed to do something about it. 

“[When this happens] we are losing someone who we have trained and developed, and who is working at a really high level. We also lose all the relationships they have built up with clients and candidates, so it makes sense to hold on to our people.”

In the time since introducing the initiative, the number of women returning to work after taking maternity leave has risen from 76% to 90% and we have also seen the number of female operational directors increase from 25% in 2012 to 41% in 2017. [email protected] has also become a blueprint for a multitude of similar diversity and inclusion programmes, covering areas such as disability, parents, age and LGBT. 

We strive for equality

Not only do we endeavour to create equal opportunities internally but we are also dedicated to developing the diversity and inclusivity of the businesses we work with every day as we strive for parity in the wider world of business. 

Our commitment to creating positive change in business has meant we have been fortunate enough to be involved with hosting a wide variety of events, with the aim of raising awareness and ensuring diversity and inclusion continue to be a pressing issue on the agenda. 

The more recent events we have hosted have been focused not just on diversity and inclusion but on how organisations can be sure they are creating a culture that supports their initiatives, how leaders can overcome biases and what more needs to be done to ensure women are being heard in business. We have interviewed a number of industry-leading experts who have presented at some of these events about a range of diversity and inclusion topics including unconscious bias, boardroom targets and inclusive leadership, to name but a few. These discussions have allowed us to not only help our clients and candidates but also expand our own knowledge and understanding of the complexities of diversity and inclusion overall. 

From these events, discussions and interviews we have also been able to produce a wide array of content to help support other businesses with their diversity and inclusion strategies.

Some of the topics we have covered recently include:

We are here to help

The fight for parity in business has barely begun and there is much to do in order for equality to become the norm rather than an initiative within businesses. It is important to be open and proactive about achieving your organisation’s goals and targets – and celebrating progress when it’s achieved. Initiatives should be filtered from the top down with leaders showcasing their expectations of staff by going out of their way to engage with diverse groups and expand their own knowledge base of diversity and inclusion. Senior leaders set the standard for how their reports should approach equality and similarly the more diverse and inclusive that leaders and managers are, the more diverse and inclusive their teams will be. 

Do you, as a business leader or people manager assess your personal biases and encourage your teams to openly discuss biases? Are you actively offering mentorship programmes to help develop your talent? Are you encouraging senior women within your organisation to reach out and offer guidance to junior team members? 

The success we have seen so far has only inspired us to do more. We continue to assess our strategy for achieving equality and actively seek new ways to improve our approach. We welcome any discussion surrounding the topic and are happy to provide any support where we are able. 

If you would like to discuss how we can help increase diversity in your recruitment processes, please contact your local office today to speak with one of our specialist consultants. 

For more information on the topic of diversity and inclusion or to get involved with any of our upcoming events, please get in touch with Sheri Hughes or Sarah Kirk. 

Sheri Hughes
UK Diversity & Inclusion Director
T: +44 121 230 9352
E: [email protected]
Sarah Kirk
Global Diversity & Inclusion Director
T: + 44 207 269 2159
E: [email protected]

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