The Accidental Feminist: How Copylab Is Helping the 30% Club

I’m proud that we’re a discriminating employer. And that we discriminate on the basis of one single characteristic – talent.

When it comes to recruitment, we’ve honed our process in the course of hiring more than 35 full-time, part-time and freelance writers in the past three years. Our obsession is in testing the talent of candidates and setting a very high benchmark for quality (in one editing test we did a few years ago, only four of 78 candidates passed to our satisfaction – we’ve since hired three of them). We also assess each candidate’s suitability for our clients’ needs – whether it’s report editing, grammar and proofreading, understanding of pensions and investments, writing skill, or creativity.

To be brutally honest, any diversity we have in our team has been accidental rather than deliberate. As a small and fast-growing company working in a niche like ours – investment communications – I can honestly say we’ve never considered a candidate’s sex, religion, ethnicity, nationality, age, disability, or anything else that is irrelevant to their ability to write great copy for our clients. It’s always been simply a matter of getting the right person for the job.

But recently, I’ve been given cause to review the make-up of our team and look at what our recruitment approach has given us in terms of diversity.

This week, I was honoured and humbled when Elizabeth Passey and her colleagues from the 30% Club approached me to support their organisation with an event they’re hosting in London.

elizabeth_passey_30percentclub_copylab3

Elizabeth Passey of the 30% Club

If you don’t know what the 30% Club is, it’s a group that was set up in 2010 with the goal of achieving a minimum of 30% representation for women on FTSE-100 boards. So far, they’ve made it from 12.5% up to 26%, so they’re well on the way. And they’ve been able to set up chapters in other parts of the world, with similar improvements in female representation on boards. It is a massively important cause and one that I’m personally proud for our company to support.

However, when Elizabeth emailed me, I wanted to be sure we could credibly support the 30% Club and their events programme. After all, Copylab hasn’t actively pushed a diversity agenda. So after a bit of basic analysis of our team, I’m pleased (and somewhat relieved) to report:

  • Of our 20 permanent staff members, 55% are female
  • Two of our three team managers are female
  • Both our finance director (the estimable Mrs Hunter) and HR manager are female
  • We tick boxes in the areas of religion, ethnicity, age (over 50s) and nationality (though I wouldn’t relish having to go through the Home Office’s visa process again)
  • And finally, of our roster of 20 regular freelancers, 60% are female.
Copylab's London contingent.

The 75% Club: Copylab’s London contingent

It seems, then, that we’ve been subliminally adopting a feminist recruitment policy. Or, more likely, there are more women applying for our roles – and they’ve been better at convincing us to hire them. Unlike the deliberate feminist approach of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, I’m the ‘accidental feminist’.

Finally, as always seems to be the case these days, we’re on the lookout for full-time and freelance investment writers to join our team in London. All are welcome to apply. So c’mon boys, this is your chance to catch up!