Achieving equal male-female representation at all levels

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Women now make up 50% of all senior positions as well as all consultancy and support roles at Montreal Associates

At the World Economic Forum in Davos this October, it was declared that it will take a further 217 years before gender pay achieves parity. While some commentators suggest this is an exaggeration and put the figure closer to 60 years or so, the fact remains that the time needed for equality to become a reality is unacceptably long. Whether it’s decades or centuries ahead of ‘schedule’, we have managed to defy predictions not just in terms of gender, but age too.

It’s been an amazing year for the team at Montreal Associates, and not just in terms of growth and expansion. We have achieved something that few other recruitment companies can claim: equal male-female representation at all levels of the business, and an elimination of the gender pay gap.

Indeed, of a total workforce of 70 people, 35 are male and 35 are female. Moreover, women now make up 50% of all senior positions as well as all consultancy and support roles. This is more impressive given the fact that we operate in a highly technical and incredibly niche industry that is overwhelmingly male dominated.

Of course, equality isn’t limited to a level male-female balance – it also includes parity when it comes to salaries. Both male and female staff are paid equally for the roles they perform – the same cannot be said for the industry as a whole. Indeed, according to figures published by Monster using figures obtained by PayScale, the average salary for a male recruitment consultant in the UK is £25,110 per annum, versus £21,800 for female consultants.

With 90% of the Montreal Associates team able to speak more than one language fluently and with several nationalities and ethnicities represented, we are also one of the most multi-cultural tech recruiters in the UK. This was a crucial factor in using winning the APSCo Diversity & Inclusion Award 2017.

Montreal Associates has been moving in the right direction for some time. Over the last few years, we have enjoyed impressive growth that has also seen us enter new markets overseas and increase our share in others. This has not only prompted a drive to recruit new consultants to help support our growth, but also a rethink of our recruitment strategy itself.

The sectors we work in are incredibly competitive, as is the recruitment industry itself. One of the most proven and effective ways to stay ahead of the curve is to ensure that the people we have in place are a true representation of the workforce as a whole. As well as gender, ethnicity and culture, age is another key part of the overall diversity piece.

All of our delivery and sales roles are part of a transparent compensation and benefits scheme. As such, all internal promotions are based on performance and merit, regardless of gender or age. So the decision to re-shape our own recruitment strategy to this end simply made good business sense in a number of key ways:

  • Staff retention has risen by 16% over the last 12 months
  • 25% of staff have now worked here longer than 10 years (a rarity in recruitment)
  • Turnover has increased by 25% year-on-year, prompting the opening of our first international office in Frankfurt (the headcount of which has almost doubled since opening) and the soon-to-be-opened office in Barcelona
  • Employee referrals now account for 6% of all new hires
  • Employee advocacy and staff engagement levels are at their highest levels in the company’s 40-year history (up to 86%)

Business leaders need to better understand that striving for greater female representation and equality in pay is good for their people, their teams, and their clients too. Having achieved gender parity at all levels, we are proud that we have a truly representative business. The challenge is to keep it that way.

David Thuillier is managing director at Montreal Associates

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