The recruitment sector is still plagued by the ‘boys club’ stereotype, according to a recent poll from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

In recognition of the trade association’s 25th anniversary this year, APSCo asked its 11,000+ LinkedIn followers what hasn’t changed in recruitment over the last two and a half decades. Of those that responded, almost half (42 per cent) revealed that the sector’s perception as a ‘boys club’ remains. This is despite the recruitment sector making strides in gender equality in recent years.

Almost a third (29 per cent) of respondents also indicated that limited investment in training is still an issue in recruitment, while 26 per cent said that the view that recruitment isn’t a career option remains a challenge.

“The recruitment sector has battled through a lot in the last 25 years and many things have certainly changed since I founded the trade association in 1999,” said Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo. “However, there’s also plenty that hasn’t evolved or disappeared in recruitment that really should have, in my view. The stereotype of recruitment as a ‘boys club’ is stubbornly hanging over our heads but, in my view, this is not the case. Since I began my own recruitment career the sector has not only seen more women recruiters, but also more female leaders making their mark. However, despite this, there remains the external view that it is a boys club and firms continue to struggle to shrug off the image.

“The age-old stereotype that people just fall into a recruitment role rather than choosing it as a career is also still prevalent,” she added. “While I agree that there are too few people proactively launching a professional career in the sector, we are seeing improvements, and the expansion of dedicated recruitment training will only help. At APSCo, our training and development team has worked tirelessly to ensure that tailored training is accessible to our members that delivers against the unique needs of recruiters. This includes boosting access to leadership development courses to help accelerate the careers of those in the sector.”

While recruitment can weather the storm of economic uncertainty more than some sectors, Swain says the role it plays in the economy should never be under-valued. “I truly believe that we will see recruitment evolve at speed in the years ahead, and I’m excited to be involved in shaping its future,” she concluded.

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