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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Alexander Steele Promotes Gender Equality in Recruitment and Manufacturing

Courtney Steele, founder and Operations Director at Alexander Steele, has lived experience as a woman in recruitment and manufacturing.  It is these experiences that have taught her the value of women in these sectors, and has driven her to put promoting gender equality at the heart of her own business.

Courtney states: “Despite women representing almost half of the UK workforce, I can confidently say that speaking from my own personal experiences working within these industries, there is still a long way to go to promote gender equality within both the recruitment and manufacturing sectors.

Astonishingly, there is a 70% difference between male and female representation in the manufacturing industry, with the overall workforce being composed of 85% men. However, where there is a challenge, there is a great opportunity, and as recruiters for the sector, we must be responsible for driving that change.

The way the manufacturing industry adapted during the pandemic demonstrated that the organisations within this sector are resilient and the industry is performing well. Consumer goods remains the largest manufacturing sector in the UK and by placing the right talent in the right businesses, this fact will remain for decades to come – but how do we ensure that we are increasing our talent pool by appealing to both men and women? What happens when there is a lack of women applying for roles within manufacturing? The onus must be on the recruitment agencies, and the manufacturing businesses they recruit for, to create positions and an environment that will appeal to women – across all levels.

At Alexander Steele, we are leading the way. Across our offices in Edinburgh and Manchester we know that to see the change, you need to be the change. It is at the core of what we do to place importance on gender equality within our own business and offer equal pay at all levels. For every position we recruit for internally, we endeavour to interview an equal number of women and men for the roles and offer salaries based solely upon experience and responsibilities.

Today, companies have to practise inclusive hiring and it’s our job as recruiters to ensure standards are being exceeded. We educate our clients on best practices and ensure this is rolled out for every vacancy but aside from that, we encourage our clients to consider carefully the way in which a role will appeal to all, and discuss with them their structure and environment in order to promote equal opportunities.

In my opinion, balancing a workforce is what will ultimately drive sales and growth. Adaptability is one of our core values at Alexander Steele and I have witnessed time and time again the way in which women have a natural tendency to be those out-of-box thinkers. Men and women have different perspectives and when you bring fresh ideas to the table and adjust processes, you thrive as a result.

I know that gender equality in the workforce starts with adequate representation in leadership. When I started out my career in recruitment, I was stunned by the lack of board level, female role models in the staffing industry; but this is changing and is another area in which Alexander Steele is proud to lead the way. As a female Director, I am focusing on equipping our female employees with the skills, guidance, motivation and support they need to help them climb the ladder.

Many candidates we speak to, looking for a role within recruitment, express a hesitation to recruit within an industry so heavily male dominated but I know from witnessing it, that the female recruiter in manufacturing has the edge. In a world of male voices, you represent a different point of view. If we want to encourage more women into manufacturing roles, who better to communicate that, than women themselves?
Unlike recruitment within service industries, consumer goods is proven to thrive throughout economic challenges; as long as people continue to eat and drink, you will continue to win business… not to mention, salaries within manufacturing sit 12% higher than in the rest of the economy. It is a fast-moving and exciting industry to work within. We see new products and consumer trends before the rest of the world, we witness the emergence of brands and their growth and work alongside these businesses to expand teams and combat demand.”
Alexander Steele is a recruitment consultancy with offices based in Manchester and Edinburgh. They work across the UK, hiring talent for the consumer goods sector.
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