Men are the best recruiters on the planet. Except for women.

Yes, that’s right. Generally, women in recruitment do a better job… and make more money.

I have been a recruiter for 35 years. Hired and trained thousands of them. Owned and run recruiting businesses in more than 20 countries. I should think I have worked with and against many of the best recruiters on the planet.

So I have a bit of a sample to judge from. (and it turns out, the research proves my intuition)

Not every woman. Not every man. Obviously. The best recruiter I ever knew was a guy. Some women are catastrophically hopeless at this job.

But, overall, generally, on average… women do it better.

Here is why;

  • I have found women are far better listeners than men. They are more empathetic. It helps, because they get deeper into the candidates true motivation, the client’s real needs… and they make a better match. Bluntly put, many woman recruiters simply care more about the human element. It might not sound ‘commercial’ but actually it means they end up with more satisfied customers, and over time, that pays.
  • You are not going to like this guys (and before you lynch me, remember, I am one of you) but women are more resilient than men. Sure, often they show frustration and emotion much more readily than the average guy, who tends to suck it up and try to tough things out. But actually I have found a steel backbone in so many women in this business. They cry a lot, but they bounce back! They keep going. Maybe it’s fear of failure. Maybe it’s just pure inner strength. I can’t count the guys who have lasted 6, maybe 12 months and dropped out, telling all and sundry as they leave to go back into banking or accounting, that “recruiting is not a real job after all”.
  • And then there is the money. Mostly, recruiters get paid on results. The more you bill, the more you earn. And in a world where women routinely earn less than men doing the same job, that’s very attractive indeed. Indeed, women have told me straight out. “In this job I can earn more than the person sitting next to me, man or woman, because it’s a level playing field. I bill, I earn. It’s transparent. And I love that!”

So there it is. Overall, woman make better recruiters than men, and indeed I imagine there are far more woman recruiters than men, although I have no statistics on that.

Recent Research on this Topic  <-


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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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73 Responses to Men are the best recruiters on the planet. Except for women.

  1. Stuart October 15, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Generalisations are fine. Our industry relies on them for profiling. Didn’t mind this and as you said, bit of tongue and cheek and no harm done.

  2. Andy October 17, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    I have to agree with Michael!

  3. Nikki G October 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Greg – I have to thank you (and your commentators) for cheering up my dreary morning!! I haven’t chuckled this much for a long time!!

    I have however been amazed by the vehemence of the responses…it’s a real shame that we still live in a world where gender can provoke such heated “debate”.

  4. Sarah October 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Greg – I am not going to comment either way on who is better!

    HOWEVER, what I do think is a shame is that there are a lot of exceptionally good women recruiters out there, and unfortunately, in general, the recruitment industry is not very well set up to take back part timers after they have had children. I think this is extremely shortsighted of employers and results loss of some very good talent from the industry.

    Generally the issue is that most recruitment models tend to work on ‘individual desk performance’ and there is therefore a natural resulting tendency away from team working, as consultants are lass motivated to cover another consultants work on their days off as it has a detrimental effect on their own desk.

    I think recruitment companies should make more effort not to lose the talent they have in good women consultants who go off to have a family – there are so few really good consultants around, and I would prefer to have a talented woman 3 days a week than a less efficient, less motivated full time worker, whatever their gender.

    • Greg Savage October 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      Great points Sarah….lots of truth in what you say..
      While we at Firebrand are by no means perfect, we do have woman working part time in London (the manager!), Paris, Auckland, Sydney (x4), and Melbourne. Its not always ideal but we cannot afford to lose the skills, so we support a variety of flexible arrangements
      regards Greg

    • Jenni Chelenyak December 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      I couldn’t agree more. The “recent experience” focus is a huge problem in the US overall. Even when women go back for technical training for other jobs, their previous experience is discounted.

  5. Justin January 6, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    I cannot believe that this post is even worth the time. Have we forgotten the basics? People buy from people…not gender. There are many good listeners that understand the principles of the sales cycle. Just to chuck one in…has anyone remembered that women talk on average 3000 words more per day than men. So if its all about the listening then it would stand to reason men would make better recruiters as I believe the great ones including some women do.

  6. Chris August 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    A parasitic industry that skins a commission off the weekly wage of desperate people trying to survive. Give yourselves a pat on the back ladies.

    • Greg Savage August 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Don’t often reply to the many comments on this blog Chris but that is an inane, ill-informed and highly offensive remark -the last of which you intended of course. Recruiters do not take a “commission off the wage of the worker”. They take a fee from the employer… and work exceptionally hard to earn that fee in the vast majority of cases. Every single service provider in any field, and indeed every retailer… takes a margin for what they provide. Wake up son!

      • Dave September 9, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

        Chris’s point is valid. Recruiters often cost more than the value they provide, and that cost is compensated by lowering wages. I’m IT and no one likes recruiters for the way the workers are treated.

        Recruiters unfairly shift hiring dynamics and offset wages. This isn’t a comment on your business or you, but on the industry as a whole.

  7. @peoplenurture January 23, 2015 at 3:55 pm #


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