Scrap firm sets sights on recruiting more women

Sackers has signed up to Suffolk Chamber gender equality charter

Sackers HR and communications boss Helen Crapnell, shipping manager Clare Lanchester and compliance coordinator Amy Black on site at the scrap plant - Credit: Sackers

An Ipswich waste company boss says only a lack of applicants is holding it back from recruiting more women for manual jobs.

Sackers managing director David Dodds admitted that although the firm had an equal number of men and women in its management team, it struggled to recruit “shop floor” females — even though the business has adopted a flexible approach to hours.

“At Sackers, gender equality is high on our priority list. I would never hesitate to employ women in business and our management team is made up of 50/50,” he said. 

“We do lack women in our manual roles but this is not for any other reason than that the applicants are male. It would be nice to see more women applying and being successful in our manual labour roles and driver roles too.

“Gender shouldn’t come into recruitment at all, personally I would recruit on attitude even over qualifications. If you have the right attitude, you can be taught anything. We are a family business and that is a priority for us in our culture to support our staff and their families. 

“This doesn’t just include women. All staff are supported in flexible working where their job allows it, to fit around their family needs. Happy families mean happy staff and that’s where you get productivity — not in gender.”

The firm is one of 30 to have signed the chamber’s Gender Equality Charter. Suffolk Business Women — which is part of the chamber — launched the pledge in order to promote women in business and wider public life.

Chairwoman Michelle Pollard said research showed a more diverse workforce has been shown to encourage a wider variety of ideas and improve a company’s profitability.

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“Yet organisations like Suffolk Business Women still have to exist because yes, this is still an issue. More and more companies accept that they do have to change the way that they attract female candidates into certain roles and sectors,” she said.

Helen Crapnell, a member of the senior management team at Sackers, said she was “really pleased” the firm had signed the pledge.

“Despite working in a male dominated environment, I cannot stress how supportive Sackers have been in my career here. I’m told regularly by David (Dodds) that as long as I get the job done, he doesn’t mind when or where I do it,” she said. 

“Employing female personnel is no doubt good for business. It’s about what skills an individual brings to the business, not what sex they are. I, myself, cannot doubt that I have faced many challenges in my career for being a female.

"It’s unfortunate that women usually carry the responsibility of the family unit so often have to sacrifice one or the other, as I did for four years. If they are lucky enough to get an employer who is supportive to your career when have a family, it can make you ultra organised and very time efficient and that is quite a skill.”

Sackers sorts Scrap metal at its Great Blakenham facility and recycles waste at its Needham Market plant. The business has grown significantly over the last few years and aims to recycle more than 90% of all waste that enters the premises.