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Women in Recruitment: Breaking Down Stereotypes and Empowering Each Other

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Women In Recruitment - Breaking down stereotypes and empowering each other

Recruitment, once conceived as an industry of sales-focused, male-orientated roles, recruitment is now far more balanced and equal when it comes to gender roles. But what is it about recruitment that appeals to women? Are they drawn to the personal side of nurturing each candidate? Is it the shift away from the “hard sell” mentality that once dominated recruitment offices? Whatever the reasoning behind it, it’s pretty clear that in 2020 women in recruitment are breaking down stereotypes and empowering women to not only work well in this industry but to excel in roles that were previously dominated by men. Standing with each other this International Women’s Day, we discuss what the recruitment industry looks like for women in 2020, why providing diversity in recruitment is key and what it is that draws women to recruitment based roles.

What Does the Recruitment Industry Look Like for Women Today?

Your personal experience of the recruitment industry will have a very strong bearing on your opinion of whether the industry has changed to benefit women, however, there are some key markers that show that despite us being a long way away from complete equality, women in recruitment are breaking down stereotypes and leading the way for other industries. In fact, statistics have shown that employees who work under a female manager are 6 times more engaged in the workplace than if they were working under a male manager. In addition to this, women in leadership roles actually achieve 15% profitability from their team compared to men in leadership. And if you were to utilise the full potential of these two statements in the countrywide workforce then it would be worth £23 billion to the economy.

Now there could be many reasons as to why women are much more effective in leadership. It could be that women are better at multi-tasking and managing a varied work-load. Some say it’s due to a women’s ability to build a strong relationship with a candidate in a shorter timeframe than a man. Or if you are feeling cynical, it may be to do with women having to work harder to achieve these roles and are therefore used to excelling.

So, what has brought about this shift in the recruitment industry from a male-dominated environment to a more balanced, gender-equal environment? That is all down to the go-getters, the stereotype breakers and the ambitious women who refuse to hear “no”. The women who believe in themselves that they can do just as good a job (and let’s face it, probably better) as any man. The women who understand how much they bring to the table and how effectively they could use their talents. Women are solely responsible for changing this industries outlook, and now they are empowering others to do the same.

Gender Equality Today, Diversity Equality Tomorrow

Of course, getting women into these roles is one huge hurdle that, thanks to the pioneers before us, we have already overcome. But we are still a long way from complete gender equality. While some still struggle with the exact meaning of this term, others see that gender equality is NOT about treating men and women the same. It IS about providing equal opportunities for both genders, it’s about creating an environment which doesn’t isolate one gender over the other and it’s about ensuring that EVERYONE’S rights are respected.

The gender pay gap is an issue through almost all major businesses, but it is only one of the issues when it comes to gender equality. Opportunities for movement into leadership roles, allowances for those with caregiving commitments outside of work and flexible working for those coming into the workforce are all key areas of gender equality that still need to be resolved. In fact, over 66% of women working in recruitment say that they believe their caregiving commitments and time away from the workplace has negatively affected their career prospects.

Thankfully there are many recruitment companies in the UK that are addressing these gender imbalances and moving towards a more level playing field. There are more female recruitment business owners than ever before, making their companies much more family-friendly, forward-thinking and flexible. Gloria Steinem who is a journalist, activist and world-renowned feminist once said, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” Women in the recruitment industry are coming together and putting their efforts into making this environment far more balanced and empowering for other women.

Elena Stephenson

Being a woman in recruitment is fun, competitive and feeds my drive for success. I really enjoy the industry and believe a lot of my more feminine qualities are what makes me stand out from other recruiters. This includes a natural desire to be organised and a high level of empathy which means I can understand my candidate’s motivations better and be sensitive towards their needs. These attributes mean us women may actually have an edge to our male counterparts. As the industry changes from being so male-centric it is also extremely empowering to be a woman in recruitment. It’s great to see that women’s voices hold just as much merit and importance as their male peers. My previous role in recruitment was much more male-dominated, something that I believed would be the case with most other companies as I continued my career within recruitment. However, meeting the team of Recruit UK for the first time was like a breath of fresh air. It’s inspiring being around successful and high-achieving women, as it demonstrates to myself that I am capable of doing the same with no limitations. It’s really exciting to see that male-dominated industries are evolving with Recruit UK at the forefront!

So, Where Next? How Else Can We Improve Equality and Diversity in Recruitment?

So now that gender equality is making positive steps forward in recruitment, where do we go next? In our day to day roles, we always ensure that we adhere to the Equality Act 2010 and that we try to open up all job opportunities to any and all suitable candidates, regardless of their ethnicity or background. But how does this relate to gender equality in recruitment? Well now that we have seen an increase in the number of women in recruitment, we need to focus on diversifying that talent pool. The skills to be an effective recruitment consultant can be found in women up and down the country who may not have been in employment for several years, they can be found in women who have come straight out of University or they may come in the form of women who have no previous work experience. They may come from all backgrounds, religions or ethnicities and the recruitment needs to be willing to help broaden their awareness and provide opportunities for these women.

Many recruitment companies are now working towards creating a diverse and respectful environment which will help women get back into the workforce, allow them to learn new skills and help them to grow in confidence so that they feel empowered to take that next career leap. A lack of confidence is one of the biggest reasons that women feel they can’t make the bold move forward into a leadership or senior role and this could be easily remedied with an empowering environment to boost morale and help other women to achieve.

Mentorship is a very useful tool to help empower women in recruitment, not just to help them on a day to day basis but to also help them push forwards and plan their career goals and course for the future. Understanding clearly the goals set and how to achieve them will empower women to take risks, push for that promotion and achieve more.

Charlotte Batten

Being a woman in recruitment is empowering! When I have successes, I feel very proud of myself and what I have achieved. I came from a female-heavy degree course, doing marketing, and we all supported each other in our course and finding our dream roles. When I told my university friends that I would be joining a recruitment firm, this was met with worry about it being a ‘sales’ environment and this, in turn, being a very male orientated office. However, I assured them that the firm I was working for was far from the typical recruitment companies. I attended a handful of interviews before I secured my placement at Recruit UK and I was always interviewed by men in suits who made me feel intimidated. I felt deflated and started to second guess my decision to go down the recruitment route. However, as soon as I stepped into my interview with recruit UK, with Louise and Keri – Ann, there was something so different about the way that this firm was run. I felt this powerful energy that everyone in the office supported one another, male or female. I know don’t think of the difference between men and women in recruitment because it isn’t something I have to think about whilst I am here. With such incredible women (and men) around me, I feel motived, driven and empowered to do my best and kick ass!

What Else Do Women Find Important at Work?

While we have spent a vast amount of time discussing how to empower women in the recruitment industry and how to create an environment that is both gender-equal and diverse, what is it that women actually find important in their roles working in recruitment?

  • A Sense of Belonging

We all want to feel like we are part of a team and for most women that includes the sense of belonging at work. If you are in a male-dominated office, then you can easily feel like an outsider. However, finding your sense of belonging doesn’t have to relate to your gender. It can be that you are working with like-minded people, people who have the same goals as you or even just people who are as good at their job as you are at yours! The sense of belonging is what you make of it, and if you continue to strive for something that isn’t going to happen then maybe a new environment is the solution.

  • A flexible working environment

With so many women having caregiving responsibilities (this could apply to children, elderly parents, disabled relatives, etc), it’s important to have an environment that is flexible and can help you to manage both your work and these responsibilities. Providing flexibility in hours, workload and candidate load will help women to excel rather than feel overwhelmed and overworked.

  • Recognition for their achievements

We all like to feel valued and for women, it is especially important. Ensuring that achievement and recognition are given frequently will ensure women are more likely to stay in their role, feel fulfilled and more likely to produce better results too.

  • A clear definition of their role and what is needed to achieve a promotion

Having a clear definition of your role doesn’t mean that you want to be told what to do, it is simply about a clear understanding of what is expected of you and what you need to achieve. Occasionally this can be mistranslated through the ranks and as such, women in junior roles aren’t sure of what their roles are. Having this frank and needed discussion will help to clear up any grey areas and allow you to concentrate on the task ahead with confidence. It will also help you to see what you need to work on in order to achieve that promotion.

Katie Mihaylov

I would say being a female in recruitment is definitely something that pushes you and it pushes you to work harder! It motivates me to do the best I can because there is still somewhat of consideration that sales, is assumed to be a male-dominated career, but that’s really not the case anymore. It’s great to see more and more women entering the industry and being successful. This in itself spurs me on. Recruit UK have been monumental in terms of my development as a recruiter and my career. When I initially joined just under 2 years’ ago I had real aspirations to step up into management, which I didn’t feel would necessarily be achievable in this time frame and definitely not anywhere else I worked as I feel there is an underlying stigma with being a young female in the industry. They delivered on their initial promise and through hard work and dedication, I’m now a Team Leader.

Recruitment really is a fantastic industry for women to be in thanks to the hard work and dedication of the pioneering women who have gone before us and who are still breaking down stereotypes and levelling the playfield for us all. If you feel that you are in a fortunate position in your workplace and feel you could help other women to do the best they can, why not offer to help mentor them and give them the boost of confidence they need to excel as well? Gender equality is moving forward in leaps and bounds, let’s all get behind it and keep the momentum going!

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Background: Recruit UK Limited understands that your privacy is important to you and that you care about how your personal data is used. We respect and value the privacy of all our customers and will only collect and use personal data in ways that are described here, and in a way, that is consistent with our obligations and your rights under the law.

1. What Does This Notice Cover?

This Privacy Information explains how we use your personal data: How it is collected, how it is held, and how it is processed. It also explains your rights under the law relating to your personal data.

2. What is Personal Data?

Personal data is defined by the General Data Protection Regulation (EU Regulation 2016/679) (the “GDPR”) as ‘any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier’. Personal data is, in simpler terms, any information about you that enables you to be identified. Personal data covers obvious information such as your name and contact details, but it also covers less obvious information such as identification numbers, electronic location data, and other online identifiers.

3. What Are My Rights?

Under the GDPR, you have the following rights, which we will always work to uphold:

a) The right to be informed about our collection and use of your personal data. This Privacy Notice should tell you everything you need to know, but you can always contact us to find out more or to ask any questions.

b) The right to access the personal data we hold about you.
c) The right to have your personal data rectified if any of your personal data held by us is inaccurate or incomplete.
d) The right to be forgotten, i.e. the right to ask us to delete or otherwise dispose of any of your personal data that we have.
e) The right to restrict (i.e. prevent) the processing of your personal data.
f) The right to object to us using your personal data for a particular purpose or purposes.

g) The right to data portability: This means that if you have provided personal data to us directly, we are using it with your consent or for the performance of a contract, and that data is processed using automated means. You can ask us for a copy of that personal data to re-use with another service or business in many cases.

h) Rights relating to automated decision-making and profiling: We do not use your personal data in this way

i) For more information about our use of your personal data or exercising your rights as outlined above. Further information about your rights can also be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office or your local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you have any cause for complaint about our use of your personal data, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

4. What Personal Data Do We Collect?

We may collect some or all the following personal data (this may vary according to your relationship with us):

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Email address;
  • Telephone number;
  • Business name;
  • Job title;
  • Profession;
  • Information about your preferences and interests

5. How Do You Use My Personal Data?

Under the GDPR, we must always have a lawful basis for using personal data. This may be because the data is necessary for our performance of a contract with you, because you have consented to our use of your personal data, or because it is in our legitimate business interests to use it. Your personal data will be used for or may be used for one of the following purposes:

  • Providing and managing your account.
  • Supplying our services to you. Your personal details are required in order for us to enter into a contract with you.
  • Personalising and tailoring our services for you.
  • Communicating with you. This may include responding to emails or calls from you.
  • Supplying you with information by email and/or post that you have opted-in to (you may unsubscribe or opt-out at any time by emailing [email protected].

With your permission and/or where permitted by law, we may also use your personal data for marketing purposes, which may include contacting you by email and/or telephone and /or text message and/or post with information, news, and offers on our services. We will always work to fully protect your rights and comply with our obligations under the GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, and you will always have the opportunity to opt out.

6. How Long Will You Keep My Personal Data?

Due to the nature of recruitment, a significant number of candidates reconnect with our organisation periodically. It is not uncommon for this to occur years after we have placed them in a role. For this reason, your consent includes explicit consent to retain your personal details until you wish us to delete your records from our database or refrain from further engagement.

7. How and Where Do You Store or Transfer My Personal Data?

We will only store or transfer your personal data in the UK or elsewhere in the EU. This means that it will be fully protected under the GDPR.

  • We store all data in specific company applications unique to us
  • All application access is via secure password or biometric control
  • In line with our Data Retention Policy, your data is deleted once

a) we no longer have a relevant use for it
b) it has passed the relevant expiry date

8. Do You Share My Personal Data?

We will not share any of your personal data with any third parties for any purposes, subject to one important exception. In some limited circumstances, we may be legally required to share certain personal data, which
might include yours, if we are involved in legal proceedings or complying with legal obligations, a court order, or the instructions of a government authority.

If any of your personal data is required by a third party, as described above, we will take steps to ensure that your personal data is handled safely, securely, and in accordance with your rights, our obligations, and the third party’s obligations under the law.

9. How Can I Access My Personal Data?

If you want to know what personal data we have about you, you can ask us for details of that personal data and for a copy of it (where any such personal data is held). This is known as a “subject access request”.All subject access requests should be made in writing and sent to the email or postal addresses shown below.

There is not normally any charge for a subject access request. If your request is ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’ (for example, if you make repetitive requests) a fee may be charged to cover our administrative costs in responding.

We will respond to your subject access request within 14 days and, in any case, not more than one month of receiving it. Normally, we aim to provide a complete response, including a copy of your personal data within that time. In some cases, however, particularly if your request is more complex, more time may be required up to a maximum of three months from the date we receive your request.

You will be kept fully informed of our progress.

10. Contact details

Contact us at [email protected]
Alternatively, you can contact us by writing to us at:
GDPR Compliance Officer
Recruit UK Limited
Newminster House
27-29 Baldwin Street

11. Complaints procedure

If you have a complaint about the way your data is stored or handled by Recruit UK Limited, please
contact us at [email protected]
Alternatively, you can contact us by writing to us at:
GDPR Compliance Officer
Recruit UK Limited
Newminster House
27-29 Baldwin Street

Escalated Complaints
If you remain unhappy with the handling of your data, you can complain to the ICO.
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

12. Changes to this Privacy Notice
We may change this Privacy Notice from time to time. This may be necessary, for example, if the law
changes, or if we change our business in a way that affects personal data protection.
Any changes will be made available on our website


Inclusivity and fairness are of paramount importance to us. Recruit UK embraces equality, diversity and inclusion and will seek to promote their benefits in all of its business activities. We will further develop our business culture to encourage, value and manage that belief. 

We intend to eliminate discrimination and encourage diversity amongst our workforce. Our aim is that our employees will be truly representative of all sections of society and each person feels respected and able to give their best.

Our policy purpose:

Not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation


Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination. This includes:

  • pay and benefits
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • dealing with grievances and discipline
  • dismissal
  • redundancy
  • leave for parents
  • requests for flexible working
  • selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities


Who is responsible for equal opportunities?

Achieving an equal opportunities workplace is a collective task shared between the employer and all its staff. This policy and the rules contained in it, therefore, apply to all staff of the employer irrespective of seniority, tenure and working house, including all employees, directors,

consultants, trainees, homeworkers and fixed-term staff and any volunteers or interns (referred to as staff).

All staff have a personal responsibility to ensure compliance with this policy, to always treat colleagues with dignity, and not to discriminate against or harass other members of staff, visitors, clients, customers, suppliers and former Recruit UK, employees.

Managers and Directors must take all necessary steps to:

  • Promote the objective of equal opportunities and the values set out in this policy.
  • Ensure that their own behaviour and those of the staff then manage complies in full with this policy;
  • Ensure that any complaints of discrimination, victimisation, or harassment (including against themselves) are dealt with appropriately and are not suppressed or disregarded.

Our Commitments

  1. Encourage equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

  2. Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.

    This commitment includes training managers and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under the equality, diversity, and inclusion policy. Responsibilities include staff conducting themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities in employment, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination.

    All staff should understand they, as well as their employer, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public.

  3. Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others during the organisation’s work activities.

    Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice.

    Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.

  4. Make opportunities for training, development, and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

  5. Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.

  6. Monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality, diversity and inclusion policy.

    Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality, diversity and inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.

Agreement to follow this policy

The equality, diversity and inclusion policy is fully supported by senior management at Recruit UK.

Details of Recruit UK’s grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures can be found in the employee’s handbook. This includes with whom an employee should raise a grievance – usually their line manager.

Use of the organisation’s grievance or disciplinary procedures does not affect an employee’s right to make a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of the alleged discrimination.

Achieve your career goals

Once you have the knowledge, soft skills, practical skills, and qualifications needed for pursuing a career in Financial Planning, we will provide you with guidance toward a suitable path to follow to achieve your career goals.
You can confidently apply for job opportunities with a high-quality CV knowing exactly where you sit within the market with inside intel about salary expectations, buzzwords for specific leading firms and referrals from experts you will meet along the way. You will also have the opportunity to utilize the Financial Planner Life recruitment services, giving you further specialized advice and putting you forward for roles which align with your intrinsic values and career goals.
Don’t put it on hold, join the community today and discover your potential.

Discover your path.

We understand that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to a career in financial planning, which is why we are here to make sure that you’re taking the right route into the profession.
We’ve calmed the process down so you can stay within your current company, start studying towards your qualifications and begin to get a real understanding of what the landscape of financial planning looks like in respect of your career.
Whether you have aspirations of being an employed adviser, running your own business or doing a more back-office focused role such as compliance, we can help guide and support you down the right path, matching your experience, your network and your intrinsic values.

Uncover your potential.

It starts with taking your qualifications and what we do within the community is support you to pass your qualifications first time. The Financial Planner Life community is all about supporting people’s different learning styles and taking into consideration life’s commitments such as finances, family and existing employment.
We believe in offering a personalised learning experience, which is why our program includes study support for industry-recognised exams. Our aim is to ensure that you are well-prepared to pass exams such as the CII-regulated diploma in financial advice, the CII Certificate in Mortgage Advice and the CII Certificate in Paraplanning.
Train to become a financial planner with the use of online resources, networking within the community with well-established professionals as well as frequent webinars and Q&As with Sam Oakes and industry-leading professional guests.
[Download the full academy prospectus here]

Connect with the Community

Welcome to the Financial Planner Life Academy where well-being, honesty and transparency are at the heart of what we do.
We’re here to support you on your journey into a career within the financial planning profession. Whether that’s administration, paraplanning, financial advice or even mortgage advice. Our expert trainers and community will support and educate you and train you to A, pass your qualifications and B, make the right decision about your first employment in the financial planning profession.
It could be going down the route of being restricted, or becoming an IFA, you may even have aspirations of running your own business! But what does that look like?
We understand that from the outside looking in, it can be daunting to find the correct route into the profession to become a financial planner. The Financial Planner Life Academy is completely independent, allowing you to connect with hundreds of financial planning professionals with different backgrounds, at all levels of experience.
You will learn all about the different options you can take, mentored by a diverse mix of professionals so you are equipped with the essential toolkit to be able to make an informed decision about your career path within financial planning.

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