How to scout the best talents, the role of women in the job world, their career opportunities and how to melt life and career. Wide topics that Claudia Paoletti, Managing Partner of Kilpatrick Executive Search, discussed with Vera Paggi during the Officina Italia on RAI3 focus on labour market figures.
Mrs. Paoletti, as a head hunter, do you choose the best talents?
Not necessarily the best of all. I choose the profiles I deem best and most knowledgeable vis-à-vis the role they are to play and the client’s setting. In other words, every person must fit in the right place!
Last December Istat released labour market figures: female employment is the only one on the rise. To come down to figures, they have announced 36thousand new jobs. Viceversa, male employment is on the way down, 11thousand jobs less. Reading statistics is anything but easy. This is a monthly figure which is not particularly explanatory of the labour market trends and dynamics. From your perspective, is female employment growing?
I agree that it is a monthly figure, therefore a bit cryptic. On the other hand, I confirm that, though slowly, we have been recording positive figures and the upward trend of women being hired by companies has been noticeably on the rise.
According to a research carried out by Manager Italia in 2018, the number of executive women under 35 years old has increased and currently accounts for 31%.
This is good news and we hope the female employment acceleration will finally compare to the European mean.
Women seem to have extra drive, is it something they need to have?
Career-driven women are to show a lot of drive and a hard shell if they want to set themselves apart in what is still a male-driven world.
Women inherently have solid skills and competencies: they are multitasking, meticulous, problem-solvers and are gifted with great creativity.
At Kilpatrick, where in recent years we have been going through a major change and experiencing a wide-ranging international and technological growth, we have hired a lot of women. 66% of Kilpatrick staff, in fact, are women and 50% of our Management Team are female.
Women sitting on the Board of Directors or working executive jobs. There seems to be a huge divide. Why?
Let me speak up my mind and be very straightforward: it took the enforcement of a law. I mean the Golfo Mosca Law which, enacted in 2011, provided that listed companies are to appoint women to sit on the Board of Directors. The benefits are beginning to show but it is all very recent, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. It will take years before the gap can be bridged.
Of course, the number of women in these roles and working for companies that are not listed on the Stock Exchange is much smaller, which is quite discouraging.
When women have leading positions, does the companies’ growth perspective change?
A research conducted by McKinsey noted that in some companies, profits are higher when women occupy managerial positions. I fully agree that there are enormous benefits ensuing from women at the wheel as they contribute equilibrium and a fresh perspective in approaching the market. Relying on women who sit on the Board implies having access to new skills and competencies, differentiated education and professional backgrounds and, very often, an overall younger age bracket. It is not the very presence of women that benefits companies, but diversity itself which produces a positive cross-contamination and impregnates the company with a new vision.
In the Italian market, women earn 20% less than their male colleagues, a gap that seems to have its roots in their first job. Is this gap sensible?
From a rational point of view, it is not at all sensible. When it comes to hiring resources to be entrusted with a given role, our business clients run job interviews targeting both men and women and offer the same entry salary.
The salary gap usually occurs during the professional growth process. Very often this situation is ascribable to women’s pregnancy leaves which disrupt their economic growth and career moves. Some other times, instead, stereotypes apply which are still a widespread social Italian phenomenon.
Which are the typical industries employing female resources and the industries where you struggle more to identify female resources?
There are industries that chiefly target the female audience. The same working fields and services we have viewed during the programme provide mounting evidence of female involvement and participation: education, healthcare, creativity, the textile industry, etc.…
While the stories we have listened to are inspirational and provide examples of female excellence, there are industries and fields still entirely dominated by men.
Many of our clients ask us to recruit women to be hired in manufacturing, logistics, R&D but often these human resources are not to be found. Engineering still churns out few female candidates and, be that as it may, it is quite recent. If, on one side, the offer is limited, I wonder whether we can oblige women to choose industries which they do not feel attracted to and are not in their range either.
What advice would you give to women who want to make a career today?
Firstly, we need to understand if these women want to make a career. In fact, there are lots of women who, perfectly happy with their housewives’ lives, draw their gratification from things other than a career.
I would recommend young career-oriented women who are taking their first steps in the labour market to think and act on a more international and digital scale. That is where the world has been heading for.
What is the secret to be the target of a head hunter?
Head hunters do not chase after people who are actively pursuing a professional change. We are a bit like secret service agents and are on the lookout to spot the right people working for the competition or coming from backgrounds and companies to some extent similar to our client’s. It is all about being very good at what you do in order to gain visibility and get referrals from the people who keep you in high regard.