Why recruitment companies should be hiring more working dads

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It is a well known fact that as a working (single) mum/parent in recruitment I have been a huge
advocate and supporter to all recruiter parents since I became a parent in 2004; to all of those who
face daily challenges working in the recruitment sector, with plenty of organisations conforming to
our ever changing society of offering flexibility and yet sadly a number who fail to recognise the
benefit of opening their doors to the every increasing number of parents who just happen to work in
our wonderful industry.
I want to provide a caveat about this blog, this is not to disregard the millions of recruiters who are
not parents obviously, it would not be helpful to alienate myself from you! However, I feel that I am
a good authority on how companies can attract more working dads (as well as mums!) to their
businesses and how those seeking more flexibility as a working parent can make things work for
their lives and not compromise their career aspirations.
As one to ensure my perspective is informed, I asked some trusted working dads I know well what
their thoughts would be on this topic and I had some interesting responses:
Mark Noakes of Kingsley Recruitment, recruiter since 1997 and dad to Alice aged 9.
(mark@Kingsleyrecruitment.co.uk)
“FIrstly, I would ask, “Why are Working Dads different to working Mums ?”
Well simply put they are not!
Historically and culturally it used to be down to ‘Mum’ to stay at home and Dad went out to work.
Over the decades we have quite rightly changed this situation and also the perception and
expectations of working parents.
One thing that doesn’t seem to have changed fully though is the way working Dads are viewed by
employers. Some are lucky, however most are not and are still not afforded the flexibility given to
working Mums.
We need to remove the separation in the way working Mums and Dads are treated, irrespective,
they are all working parents and should be treated equally.”
I have to say, I agree with Mark and think that the prejudice working dads have potentially faced in
recent years is similar to the barriers working mums in recruitment also felt a decade ago.
Working parents should support one another regardless of gender: we all experience similar
challenges whether thats the chicken pox with an enforced quarantine for a fortnight, a bumped
head at school meaning an early dash home or the barrage of sports days/nativity etc
How can recruitment companies ensure they are attracting working dads to their
companies:
By offering a trusting and empowered culture which allows each employee to almost set their own
hours around their needs but with the same accountability: this can work very effectively when
employing experienced hires and required a transparent and respected culture to make it work.
And the great thing is, it isn’t unique to working parents either: the last thing an employer wants to
do is alienate its non-parent workforce and cause resentment. I would never condone positive
discrimination to any party or person! Allow your non parents to have the same flexibility if it is
needed! Allow the team to understand WHY the flexibility is being offered:I have to ask- Does
anyone really think that Joe leaving at 3pm to pick up his kids is having the “afternoon off”? Of
course he isn’t: he is dashing to the school gates, picking up Gemma and Hugo, getting them back
home, feeding them and getting them changed for their respective hockey and rugby matches
whilst making quick calls to clients and sending emails whilst he waits in his dad taxi. Once the
bairns are tucked up in bed, he responds to all messages and calls before finally calling it a day at
930pm….. afternoon off? I don’t think so!
My 3 top tips to employees seeking to attract working dads:
1. Ensure you have accountable and specific targets in place which can be measured regularly
2. Gain regular feedback on what you can do to support them in their role and provide them with
reciprocal suggestions to ensure they are successful
3. Be flexible on their requirements and let the role fit around them- you will gain their loyalty
respect and commitment I promise you!
My 3 top tips to working dads seeking a more flexible and supportive employer:
1. Seek out those companies owned by working parents as they are more likely to have empathy
and understanding in your needs
2. Set the bar: you can be the advocate so work smart and hard in the hours you do have!
Become the benchmark employee regardless of being a working dad.
3. Support other working parents and go off recommendations as to which companies can be
there to provide you with a career opportunity and balanced life
What have your experiences been as a working dad? If you are an employer, do you tend to prefer
working dads/parents? What flexible options work for you?

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