I joined Hays in 2004 as a Junior Recruitment Consultant after previously working as a Sales Manager for a phone brand. I was looking for an IT job, as I wanted to use my degree in IT. However, after meeting with a Hays recruiter to help me with my job search, I was introduced to the world of recruitment and it was the career and commission dream that sold me. Initially, I wasn’t sure, but after speaking to a few different members of the team, I was inspired by their success and decided to accept the opportunity.
I’d planned to give it six months before moving on to something else if I didn’t like it, but fast forward to 17 years later – I’m still here, enjoying it, being challenged, and developing as a person and in my career. I began my career running a temp public sector desk in Hays IT and have worked in Hays Talent Solutions since 2010, managing teams and services as a Client Manager, Account Director, and most recently Service Delivery Director for a portfolio of corporate accounts. The opportunities and rewards at Hays have been a key motivator for me over the years and have kept me engaged. Hays recognises and rewards you for your hard work.
As an employer and an agency, we’ve got a unique opportunity to engage with candidates from diverse backgrounds and place the emphasis on the value of a candidate’s attitude, potential, and work ethic rather than their education, past work experience, ethnicity, or another protected trait.
1. The importance of diversity and inclusion at work
In my opinion, diversity, and inclusion at work means happily celebrating difference and acknowledging that it makes us better. I was lucky enough to study for my MBA a few years ago and I wrote my thesis on diversity, focusing on diversity as a strategic necessity in business. I don’t think you can be successful unless you understand and encourage diversity. I also believe employing people from different walks of life enables us to better represent our clients, empathise with them and as a result, deliver more valuable or innovative outcomes.
Diversity and inclusion are important to me because I understand how it feels not to be included, to be actively excluded, and to come from a disadvantaged background, so I’m motivated to do something about it and ensure there is better diversity and inclusion for others.
2. Why Black History Month matters
Black History Month matters because there are many different groups and communities who have played important roles in our history but who don’t often get celebrated. There is some awareness of slavery and racism in the UK but what we don’t talk about is how thousands of people from the Caribbean and other countries were asked to come to the UK to support the economic recovery of the country after the Second World War. The message that my parents and grandparents were given in Jamaica was ‘come to England and help the Queen’. Their experiences on arrival were definitely not one of gratitude and you only have to follow the Windrush scandal to understand more about the ongoing challenges. In spite of this, many individuals of this and subsequent generations who arrived in the UK during those years have made significant contributions to society that should be remembered and celebrated.
I believe there are some positives that need to be celebrated instead of solely focusing on the negative experiences black people have endured although I’m not saying it should be forgotten. While it’s fashionable that black culture is celebrated through our music and food, I think there are other areas that could do with recognition. I look up to my parents and grandparents as they travelled halfway across the world and set up a new life on a mission to help the UK. They experienced the kind of trials and tribulations synonymous with their generation and despite that, managed to raise a family and have successful careers, so, they are my role models.
3. We are on an EDI journey; we have the ability to impact so many others
Hays offers any individual, regardless of their background, the opportunity to join the business and be successful. It’s very common to see candidates start in junior positions and progress to business leaders through their hard work and dedication. As an example, just look at the number of MDs or Senior Directors that joined the business in junior roles and have worked their way up. A great example is Simon Winfield our UK and Ireland, Managing Director, who has worked his way up to this senior position through hard work, even though he didn’t attend university. This shows the potential for career progression at Hays.
Since I started in 2004, I’ve seen Hays’s real progress concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion. There is much more focus and awareness around it now. You could even say the current approach being taken towards it is similar to how we would treat a business problem – with the deployment of targets, clear expectations, and focus to help us understand the gaps or issues so solutions can be found.
Find out more about the opportunities available and start your Hays story today.