Danielle RamsbottomDanielle Ramsbottom is Director for Client Management across EMEA. She began her career in recruitment 19 years ago after graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in European Business, Spanish, and French.

Always maintaining a keen focus on corporate client engagement and specialising in technology recruitment across all industry sectors, Danielle is also passionate about all matters relating to diversity, and takes the lead on Frank Recruitment Group’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy, both internally and across the company’s client network.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Apart from a very brief stint in fashion, I’ve worked in the technology recruitment industry since I graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2000. I started at a Big Top 3 Recruitment leader as a trainee, and progressed quickly through the ranks, leading permanent recruitment teams and then later becoming Client Director, managing cross-industry enterprise customers. I moved to Frank Recruitment Group in 2016 to build a high-touch enterprise business for both our candidates and clients. I’ve built and led our EMEA Client Management function ever since. I’m also the Diversity and Inclusion Lead for EMEA, responsible for leading on initiatives that address the challenges facing our customers when it comes to creating a more inclusive workforce.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Being a linguist and always having an interest in fashion, I thought this would always be the route I’d go down as I was growing up. However, after declining a place on Harrod’s Graduate Training Programme I moved back up North and took a graduate position at Hays instead. I fell in love with recruitment and the technology industry very quickly and haven’t ever looked back. I always wanted to work in a role where I was customer facing, and had the ability to build relationships and help develop solutions to industry challenges such as gender diversity in tech.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Moving to Frank Recruitment Group was a really positive challenge—it was a leap from what was a very mature, established organisation to a company that was essentially a scale-up. It could’ve been a gamble, but I was inspired by the leadership, and I saw the opportunity to create agile solutions for our customers. Three years later, we’ve more than doubled in size, opened offices all over the world, and established relationships with some fantastic organisations.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

If you’ve ever been in a position to enjoy a promotion at work, you’ll know how much satisfaction can be gleaned from having your attitude and hard work rewarded. But some of the most gratifying turning points on your professional timeline come along when your professional efforts are recognised outside of the workplace.

I was recently nominated as a finalist in the 2019 European Women in Sales Awards, in the Business Development category, and that was an incredibly proud moment and a treasured milestone.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I’ve been very fortunate to have good mentors both within my company and in the wider industry. They’ve taught me the value of always being inquisitive, and listening before talking. By listening to your customers’ challenges, you can build solutions to help them overcome these and create long term, lasting relationships.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Find out which specific environment within the sector is the right one for you. There are a multitude of options, but until you find your place and begin to feel grounded in your role, there’s always a danger of uncertainty, which in turn can affect confidence.

Once you’ve found the right path, do everything within your power to master the tech, whatever that may be. Things like accreditations can provide a huge leg-up, and lead to much greater recognition within the workplace as well as wider tech communities.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

We know that there’s still an issue at a grass-roots level. The number of girls and young women choosing to study STEM subjects has stalled.

Unless we do more to change that then organisations will always struggle to hire more women. At Frank Recruitment Group, we sponsor coding clubs for kids aged 7+ and we work with different higher educational facilities to give talks and workshops on tech careers. Making technology accessible and fun is absolutely key.

We also partner with key technology vendors offering returnship programmes for those wanting to come back into the technology after a break, as well as cross-training programmes in markets such as Salesforce and ServiceNow where demand outstrips supply.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

First, I’d say that this is an issue that lots of our customers are really engaged with and many leaders within the tech industry are changing their hiring policies, adopting flexible working, instigating mentorship schemes—all things that help to shift the dial on gender imbalance. I think it’s important to acknowledge that and make it clear to any women considering a career in tech that she has a lot of options.

Of course, we can do more—I hope that we’ll see more women in leadership roles and greater collaboration across the industry to make the sector even more female-friendly.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I’d say it’s about attitude. Do you see diversity as a box ticking exercise, or are you aware that having a diverse workforce has a positive impact on your bottom line? The research is out there—companies with better representation at board level outperform their competition. And companies that are perceived as more inclusive are more attractive to candidates of all genders. Once organisations genuinely understand the power of inclusivity then the pace of change is much faster.

At a practical level I think it’s about looking at every aspect of the industry and asking whether the practices we take for granted are really the best way of doing things, or whether making small changes will help to make workplaces more genuinely inclusive. I’d ask any organisation whether they’ve looked at the way their job ads are written, or if they’ve thought about the makeup of their hiring panel, or, if they offer flexible working, whether it’s emphasised on their careers page or buried in the small print. These are just some of the basics.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are some great individuals and organisations out there who share a lot of valuable content. My top three would be:

  • The Tech Talent Charter (follow on LinkedIn) – Frank Recruitment Group are signatories to this organisation aimed at cross-industry collaboration on diversity issues and they run events across the country.
  • Dr Sue Black is a real powerhouse, and she’s passionate about getting more women into tech—follow her on Twitter: @Dr_Black.
  • We are Tech Women, it goes without saying, have some great resources and events, and they have a really good list of podcasts.

Finally, nothing beats the power of face to face networking. Companies such as Salesforce, AWS and Microsoft hold regular meet-ups, so look out for events in your area.