Pippa Nutley (58) of RBS led the way with a humorous insight into her life when, after 40 years of working, she found recruiters and companies seemingly uninterested in using her skills and experience. “On the scrapheap at 58 sounds like a headline from a chat magazine but for me it was reality. That was until RBS recognised me for my skills and offered me a fantastic role” she explained.
She was followed on stage by Heather Melville, Regional Sales Director from RBS who shared her own less than typical career path. “It’s very important not to judge a book by its cover” she told the audience, “but to find out what candidates are really about.”
CareersCity, a female-friendly job board, was set up by entrepreneur Vanessa Vallely, CEO of women's networking website http://www.wearethecity.com, which receives over 2 million hits a month.
“Baroness Prosser, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has argued that if women are offered more career opportunities it would help to reduce the gender gap” Vanessa (40) said. “CareersCity aims to do just that, to help stop hemorrhaging women from the talent pipeline by working with proactive and supportive employers.”
Many of the FTSE firms, womens’ network founders, recruitment companies and entrepreneurs already using CareersCity attended the event. Sandie Small was one of them.
“It’s great to be able to meet with other professional women to share ideas and talk about our experiences in the workforce. The dream is that we will all be able to work as one at all different levels of organization.”
The final speaker, 11 year old Mia Vallely, shared her vision of the workplace in 2020 when she will be ready to enter it.
“Your world of work is not pretty to me – you start work way too early and you all look the same – you need more colour” she said before explaining just what her alternative ideal would look like. “You will see me for what I am, regardless of my age or whether I’m female or male. You’ll just care about the skills I have and that I can do the job I’m paid to do.”
The uneven playing field for women was highlighted in the recent Chartered Management Insitute (CMI) 2012 Gender Salary Survey which suggests that a women can earn £423,000 less than a man in her career. Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson has said previously that “pay inequality remains a stubborn obstacle to real fairness in the workplace.”
“There’s still a lot of unconscious bias in the workplace” commented Brenda Trenowden, Managing Director for Global Client Management UK & Ireland at BNY Mellon, who was at the event. “Organisations may have been set up in a different age, and structurally may not have been set up to work the way women work. There’s quite a lot we need to do to level the playing field.”
The CareersCity website has had an impressive first month with 20,000 hits, 8,000 job searches and 1,000 jobs posted alongside hundreds of articles on careers, personal development, company profiles and recruitment.