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International Women's Day 2020: An Interview with Abigail Sawden

Posted on: March 2020 By Stephanie Cavanagh

What role can recruitment play in creating a gender-balanced workforce? Abigail Sawden, Human Resources Business Partner for Phaidon International, US, shares her thoughts for International Women's Day 2020.

The 2020 International Women’s Day theme is that an equal world is an enabled world. What does that mean to you and the clients you work with?

Each for Equal is about recognizing the role we can all play in impacting gender equality. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets have an impact on our communities, workplaces and larger society. As the HRBP for Phaidon International US, it is important that we enable these conversations internally and empower our people to continue to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce. Many of our D&I initiatives, including IWD events, are driven by our employees - it is key that our employees actively choose to promote equality both internally within our business, and externally with their clients and candidates.

What sort of conversations around gender equality do you have with clients and candidates in your sector?

Internally at Phaidon International , gender equality is a topic that continually discussed and addressed. Equality is not a women's issue, it is a business issue - studies show that organizations with higher gender diversity, and greater diversity in general, perform better than those with lower representations. Internally, we recognize this from a business perspective but also from an employee experience perspective. Diversity of voice and thought leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for all.

What role can recruiters play in creating an equal world?

At Phaidon International, we are in an impactful position in that we can influence the hiring strategy of the clients we work with and potentially impact the diversity of their organization for the better. Our specialist recruiters partner with their clients, influencing, advising and educating hiring managers as well as ensuring that candidates' experiences are free from discrimination and unconscious bias. We offer industry insights and white papers, such as Women of Color in STEM to provide key market insights to positively impact our clients' diversity hiring strategies. It is key that all recruiters recognize the important role they play in championing diversity.

What advice would you give to a company trying to create a diverse hiring strategy?

To create a diversity hiring strategy, the culture of the wider organization needs to be considered - firstly, diversity and inclusion must be recognized by leadership as a key business priority. Next, it is key to understand the unique challenges the company faces to affect and drive this - data and metrics can be used here to identify which areas need to be addressed and how success will be measured. How this strategy is messaged, both internally and externally, is extremely important. Company brand and marketing needs to be assessed to ensure it is in line with hiring strategy goals. Finally, all of the above needs to be incorporated practically into the recruiting process: are hiring managers aware of potential biases? Are job descriptions inclusively written? Are the recruiters you are working with aligned and accountable to your diversity goals?

Abigail Sawden is the North American HR Business Partner for Phaidon International. Based in New York, Abigail is responsible for HR support and strategy across the US. Prior to joining Phaidon International, Abigail held roles HR Business Partner and advisory roles in Financial Services in both New York and London. She joined Phaidon in January 2019 to develop the HR function across Phaidon's six US offices.For advice on building a diverse hiring strategy, get in touch with the Phaidon International team.

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About us

Phaidon International, the parent company of five specialist recruitment brands, exists to solve one of the top challenges faced by organizations and business leaders globally – attracting and securing talent. As a global recruitment firm, Phaidon International plays a vital role in helping our clients navigate this challenge, finding the talent that will allow them to drive their business forward in constantly changing and evolving markets. Today, Phaidon International provides permanent, contract and multi-hire recruitment from our global hubs all over the world.