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Women’s History Month: 10 minutes with Lily Shippen, a recruitment specialist

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Our coverage of successful and inspiring women continues throughout March, during Women’s History Month. Next in our series of interviews we talked to Lily Shippen, founder of Lily Shippen Recruitment

“My career has been marked by significant highlights, including the opportunity to build a business from the ground up. This experience has not only been fulfilling but has also allowed me to make a tangible impact on the lives of others. Building a business in recruitment, an industry known for its competitiveness and stereotypes has taught me the importance of resilience and innovation.

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is navigating the competitive nature of the recruitment industry. It’s a field that requires constant adaptation and a proactive approach to both market trends and individual client needs. The stereotypes and misconceptions prevalent in our industry have sometimes presented additional hurdles, particularly in establishing credibility and breaking traditional moulds.

To navigate these challenges, I focused on building strong relationships based on trust and transparency, from the start. I also prioritised continuous learning to stay ahead of industry trends, but most importantly to ensure that I am constantly growing and improving as a leader.

What advice would you give to young women at the start of their professional journey?

For young women aspiring to make their mark in recruitment or any competitive industry, my advice would be to believe in your value. Confidence is key and if you believe in your skills and your unique perspective, then that will help you in the challenging times. I’d also advise to build strong relationships. Success is rarely a solo journey, so forge meaningful relationships with mentors, colleagues and clients. These connections can provide you with support, guidance and opportunities for growth.

Which female role models helped inspire your career?

The female role model that has helped inspire my career has been my mum. When I was contemplating starting my own business, I had doubts about my age and experience. It was my mum who gave me the confidence to launch my business. She reminded me that age is just a number, and that with passion and determination far outweigh it. Beyond just encouraging me to start, she has been a constant source of guidance, and her example of resilience and hard work inspire me constantly. I am immensely grateful for her influence on my life and career.

The gender pay gap is still prevalent across most industries, how would you encourage women to ask for a promotion and/or a pay rise?

When gearing up to ask for a promotion and/or a pay rise, build a case which is backed up by your accomplishments and the unique value that you bring to your role and company. Highlight instances where you’ve gone above and beyond, be clear and concise in presenting your case and don’t be afraid to discuss what you deserve.

I would also encourage being mindful of timing and, if necessary, voicing ahead of the meeting that you would like to discuss the topic. This can make the meeting feel less daunting and ensure enough time is planned for the discussion, and the meeting isn’t cut short. Incorporating data from a Salary Survey like ours (Salary Survey 2024 (lilyshippen.co.uk), which was released in January, can further strengthen your case, offering data-backed evidence of where your salary should stand based on industry standards, providing a solid foundation for your negotiation.

There are many contributing factors for the gender wealth gap, such as the ‘Motherhood Tax’. What are your thoughts on this?

Advocating for women means not only addressing the immediate inequities of the ‘Motherhood Tax’. We also need to also champion broader cultural shifts that redefine parenting as a shared responsibility, not just a maternal duty. By fostering environments that support all parents, we can enable women to pursue their careers and their personal ambitions, as well as motherhood.

I also strongly feel that employers have a crucial role in taking fair and reasonable approaches to policies and processes in the workplace so that we don’t build companies that are based on stereotypes, historical patterns and assumptions.

 

You can read more interviews about inspirational women, including 5 pieces of advice from a female CEO  who’ve taken part in our International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month series of interviews.