For International Women’s Day, we sat down with the Associate Director of Klickto Search Annpurna Bist and discussed the role of women in tech recruitment, asking her about their perks, challenges, barriers, and much more. Here are some of the highlights from the interview.
What has been your experience as a woman in tech recruitment?
When I first joined It was a whole new world for me, I had no idea how recruitment works and the kind of skills you need to have. I was a psychology grad I came from a very different school of thought and a very different style of working where you take your time, whereas recruitment is fast-paced. Initially, I had to adjust and worked hard to prove myself.
I still remember my first deal came after 6 months it wasn’t easy to not have a deal that long. From their onwards, things started changing for me.
Technology roles have traditionally been dominated by men, and as such, many tech recruiters are men as they have come from the industry. I do understand you need to understand the sector, and you need to know the specialisms that exist in your market, but I believe if you have a sound fundamental knowledge of recruitment, and if you are strong and clear then you can crack any industry - all you need is time to build your network. The important thing is to understand your market trends and where the market is heading but not necessarily the technicality of the job.
Do you feel women are equally represented? What can we do going forward?
You will find the junior to mid-level is dominated by women, but when you go to the top-level management in most firms you will only find a handful of women are in a leadership position. There is a huge deficit of women holding leadership roles in recruitment firms in India and in technology generally across Asia.
I think going forward, small changes in the working environment can help women achieve more in their careers in the long run, such as flexible working hours or work from home. Personally, I can say work-life balance seems to be one of the main reason women don’t go on to take leadership roles, as they juggle family life.
What excites you about the recruitment industry?
I really find my job very exciting because I am a people-person, so talking to clients and candidates and presenting new opportunities, guiding and advising them through their career is very rewarding. I take pride in my work and being known as a market specialist is always a high for me, and it's an incredible feeling and the relationship we build along the way with candidates and clients, just makes me feel good about my job.
Are there any barriers to a career progression as a woman?
I think the way Klickto Search has built up over the past couple of years has been fantastic, and I haven't felt that my gender has been a barrier. But yes, generally in the tech recruitment industry I have realised while interacting with international clients that there are more male recruiters in the market. I think it would only benefit business generally if this was changed.
How much has mentoring played a role in your career?
I think that as an individual you need to be open to the idea of learning at any time of your career because if you are closed or have an attitude of "oh I know it all" or you take it personally and start internalising it then you as a person will never grow. So certainly, mentoring is very important. I would like to see more senior women mentoring those just starting out in their careers, as they can help many women navigate the challenges unique to them.
Why is International Women’s Day important?
It is important to take time to consider the gender balance in our workplace, whether in our own company or as part of the recruitment process, we undertake for our clients. We are in a unique position to ensure that we reach women professionals in tech and present them with the same opportunities as their male counterparts. International Women’s Day and the #BalanceforBetter campaign is a great initiative that brings such issues to the forefront.