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WOMEN SHOULD MAKE THE MOST OF THE GENDER GAP

WOMEN SHOULD MAKE THE MOST OF THE GENDER GAP AS NEW JOBS STATS ANNOUNCED
 
WOMEN can make the most of the gender gap to beat a rise in unemployment, according to one female-led recruitment firm.
 
New economic figures issued by the Office of National Statistics today show the number of unemployed women in the UK was 949,000 in the three months to Nov 2009 up 13,000 from the three months to August 2009.
 
 These latest stats could crush hopes of a more buoyant 2010 for the female workforce. But women can work the gender gap to their advantage for once, according to Natalie Alexander, partner at Cheshire-based Alexander Hancock
She said: These figures are disappointing but the facts are that women have a lot to offer the job market in a climate like this.
 
More women are looking for part-time employment, offering flexible hours and there has been an increase in the number of women setting up in business. They often have to juggle families and that can make them focused, driven and determined great employees and entrepreneurs.
Natalie should know. She set up her business in Altrincham with her sister Anneliese Alexander and friend Liz Hancock from an attic room in 2004. The business has just celebrated its fifth year of growth.
 
The firm placed 11 women in permanent roles in December 2009 traditionally a tough month to find employment more than the previous month and more than the same time 12 months ago.
 
Natalie said: Unemployment isnt a gender issue after all, who would dare make a woman redundant over a man these days?  Of course, its about finding the right person for the job but often women have the edge just because theyre prepared to be more flexible.
 
For example, companies looking to cut their wage bill may decide to hire someone on a part time basis rather than full time and the reality is, in our experience, that more women out there are looking for part time work, which has got to be good news.
 
As a generalist agency, Alexander Hancock recruits from junior to director level across most sectors, including manufacturing, finance, creative, textiles and leisure.
 
She said: Weve certainly seen a trend in companies making middle managers redundant when times are lean roles frequently held more by men. But when things pick up they recruit for lower level roles, which women are more likely to hold, so there is reason to be optimistic for women looking for work.
 
Overall, we have seen an increase in the number of companies looking to recruit since the autumn so these latest figures could be a blip. Weve placed both men and women in roles but it is interesting to see how women can now benefit from what was once seen as a negative.

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