Gender diversity: Headhunters get more for hiring women

It’s a trend that augurs well for womenin the corporate world. Organizations, in a bid to improve their gender diversity ratio, are pulling out all the stops to recruit female employees, beginning with higher fees for head hunters.

While Deutsche Bank offers a 2% additional fee to a recruiter for bringing women candidates to the bank, Executive Access, an executive search firm, says it earns an additional 10% fee payable if a female candidate is hired by an organization. There have also been cases where clients have demanded that only female candidates be placed with them.

Hiring managers at Sodexo have been told not to accept candidates brought by a recruiter unless a few of them are women. Others like Kotak Mahindra Bank gives preference to women employees applying for internal job postings in hitherto male-dominated frontline sales and collection jobs.

“Generally, the candidates that are presented to the hiring manager by the recruiter may not be women. Now we are asking the hiring manager not to accept what is given. You should let them know that we need some women on the slate. In other words, if you have four interviews that you are setting up, at least two should be women. That puts pressure on the recruiter to bring women candidates,” said Cecy Kuruvilla, global director (leadership development/diversity), Sodexo Remote Sites and Asia-Australia.

Deutsche Bank, which has formed a diversity council that focuses on such issues, has exclusive agreements with head hunters to attract women candidates.

“We incentivize them with an additional 2% fee if they get us a woman candidate,” said the bank’s managing director and head, HR, Makarand Khatavkar.

“If there is a position and if we’re paying others 15%, and if a particular head hunter gives us a woman manager, we pay him or her 17%. We want to make progress on the gender ratio of the organization. It’s a journey, and we are on the right track,” he said.

The effort comes even as the percentage of women employees at vice-president level at the bank is comparatively high at around 35%. However, most banks find it difficult to attract female talent in areas like frontline sales and collection. Kotak Mahindra Bank, where the female-to-male ratio is at 1:18, has even engaged with certain agencies to attract women who have taken a break from their careers. Those who manage to bring such talent to the bank in turn get a higher fee. “We have seen women employees in sales do very well. But getting a female frontline salesperson is very rare. Through our call centre, we encourage women who would like to move into sales, where we can build a career path for them. If a woman employee applies for any of these internal job postings, we usually give her preference,” said Subhro Bhaduri, executive vice-president, HR, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Organizations today are keen on improving gender diversity at senior management level, as this adds depth and a wider perspective to key decision-making. “Let’s face facts: women are wired differently and have a better intuitive ability. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, when a number of decisions are taken on gut instinct because of a variety of reasons, organizations benefit from having better gender diversity,” said Ronesh Puri, managing director, Executive Access (India).

Source: The Times of India

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