What it's like to work at MRL - Vanessa Milne
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Next up in our series of "What is it like to work at MRL", we talk to one of our latest additions to the MRL team in the UK, Vanessa Milne. With thirteen years in recruitment she is a seasoned consultant and an expert in the Telecommunications sector. Being a mum of two she has a lot to juggle outside the office, so working part time and utilising our flexi-time initiative gives her the freedom to shuffle things where needed.
Tasked with building up a new Telecommunication market sector for MRL, she proved her expertise from the get go with an impressive achievement of making a placement in the first three weeks! We're very happy to have Vanessa on board and we can't wait to see what glass ceilings she can break.
Read her story below:
Over 13 years ago I had recently graduated, not entirely convinced of what I wanted to do with my degree, when a friend of mine who worked at MRL, then Microscape, recommended I get into tech recruitment as the money was great and it was a booming market. Microscape didn’t’ have any grad roles at the time but I went elsewhere and now 13 years later, here I am.
I didn’t really pick it to be honest, I was open to suggestion within tech and the company I wanted to work for at the time only had an opening helping to grow the Telecoms client base. The opportunity to work internationally, in an ever evolving market convinced me that I would never get bored and always be learning.
Women seem to me to be well represented in technology recruitment, both in search firms and internal recruitment. I have friends and ex colleagues at VP level in global recruitment outsourcing companies, as well as at Partner level with independent search firms, however that number does seem to dilute the more senior you get. Unfortunately I would say that there are too few companies open to hiring on a part-time or home based contract for those women who do not wish to go back to work full-time after having children. However, I am lucky enough to work for MRL, who can see past gender and the value of contacts, commitment and experience over hours at your desk, especially in this digital age!
Absolutely, time at work means time away from my children so I want to make sure I make it worthwhile. I am more focused and less susceptible to time wasters, which in turn saves my clients and candidate’s time. A lot of my work involves relocating individuals internationally and having been to school in Hong Kong as a teenager and now having children myself, I would like to think I am well equipped to advise those considering that jump.
When I was at school, Kate Adie came and did a sixth form lecture, as a 17 year old who wanted to be anywhere other than a lecture room, she not only kept my attention but inspired me to keep going through diversity. Kate was one of the world’s leading war reporters in an almost entirely male dominated field, especially in the 80s when she got her first big break. She stayed on the front line throughout times of extreme danger, witnessing atrocities we can’t imagine and being disregarded for her sex by many people she had to interview and work with, yet she remained dignified, respectful and composed, traits I try very hard to emulate.
Kate eventually went on to be a very successful author so who knows!
When governments and major corporations lead the way both in the pay they offer and through stricter legislation. Companies who offer flexible working, have strict non-discrimination programmes and a clear gender balance in the senior management team, are both easier to recruit for and harder to headhunt from. When a women is interviewing and the entire senior management team is made up of men, it automatically raises the question of whether they will hit the infamous glass ceiling. By defining pay on output and execution of a role rather than hours at a desk or years of experience, that gap would organically begin to close.
I can’t speak for all markets but in Telecoms it is a heavily candidate driven market due to the fast pace of technology advancements. Those individuals who are consistently tracking the market, updating their skills, working for companies who are advancing their technology and show consistency in their CVs, are heavily in demand. Companies who have a long hiring process and are not realistic with their salaries can lose out to progressive, agile organisations-it is not always possible to rely on a brand name to attract the best people.
All of this means that the difficulty lies in sourcing the best individuals in the market and they often aren’t looking to move, until we call them. That is where headhunters come in; you cannot rely purely on websites or an old contact network, you need a combination of both as well as an in-depth knowledge of the industry. On that basis I would expect non market specific recruitment agencies and those who rely on job boards or internet advertising, to find it progressively tougher to meet client demands.
When you have worked at a company for a long time it is a daunting experience to make that move, especially when you are responsible for setting up a market that is brand new to the company. However, I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome and when I made my first placement after three weeks, everyone was genuinely pleased for me.
There’s no denying that being flown to Portugal for the sales kick off on my second day, helped me to settle in quickly!