As a profession, recruitment has a rather unique reputation when it comes to staff training and skills development. On one hand, I would argue that there’s no other profession where individuals with zero experience can be onboarded and trained to excel in their job at speed. This is perhaps one of the silver linings of recruitment being a role that many have fallen into rather than actively pursued after education.
However, once these individuals are onboarded and become big billers, a lot of this training stops and I feel this is a real missed opportunity for the staffing sector, particularly given the high rates of staff churn that many recruitment businesses have experienced. Management and leadership positions may be the natural progression route for successful recruiters, but the same level of training that people are afforded at entry level is often missing when moving people up the ladder.
The fact is, not everyone is a natural leader, and not everyone knows how to manage. Being a high-performing recruiter doesn’t mean an individual possesses the skills to make this transition, but it also doesn’t mean it is not possible to move into this role with the right support.
I strongly believe that the recruitment sector can do more to develop staff and help recruiters grow into a strong career path that boosts retention and strengthens the sector’s own skills development. While this may be relevant for all leaders, there’s one particular demographic that I feel will find leadership training invaluable: female recruiters.
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While data from our global strategic partner, LinkedIn, shows that 41% of recruiters today are women, the number of females holding leadership positions in the sector remains relatively low. While there is a range of factors hindering diversity at senior level, the lack of recruitment-specific leadership training certainly hasn’t helped.
To address this issue, APSCo has launched a dedicated Women in Leadership program designed to help not only address the management skills transition that is needed but also empower and equip women with the tools, mindset and confidence to reach their full career potential. The training helps tackle self-doubt, imposter syndrome and other barriers that women in recruitment are facing in their professional lives.
We ran the pilot program last year, and the outcomes were incredibly positive to say the least. It was only once the conversation between peers was facilitated by the training that it became evident to many delegates that they weren’t alone in the barriers and mental blockers that they were facing.
Moments of realization that others were experiencing the same signs of self-doubt helped drive the conversation into tangible actions for attendees. I’m not saying that the solution to the women in leadership issue is to create a safe space for female recruiters to talk. But investing in training that is designed specifically with their recruitment sector-focused challenges in mind will add significant value.
Replicating this investment across leadership skills development regardless of demographic will be needed, particularly as the pre-pandemic recruitment highs continue to slow and the skills of our recruiters and leaders are tested.