International Women’s Day was all about #BreakTheBias, imagining a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. One of the many places women still experience bias is at work – especially after having children. In my opinion, companies who can create a safe, supportive environment for working mums will find they are much more attractive to work for than the competition.

The issues highlighted by International Women’s Day continue to affect women all year around. As a working mum myself, working in the recruitment space, it was interesting to reflect on the topic of ‘bias’ this year.

I’ve experienced firsthand how your priorities change after having children and how that plays out professionally. Luckily, I’ve been very well supported. I’ve also got an insight through our clients and candidates of what companies are doing to support working parents.

With this in mind, this is the first of a series from me looking at working mums, the challenges we face and how companies can better support working parents. I’ll be joining forces with Celine, who is a Partner at parents@work. The purpose of this international organization, based in Switzerland, is to support and empower working parents in the workplace.

Here are my thoughts on some of the ways working mums can face bias at work.

  1. We need to juggle

Work life, parenting life, school life, sporting life, education. Everything that goes with being a mum has to be balanced with delivering top priority work.

Work is very important, but it is also just one part of the picture and not all companies appreciate that.

  1. Our family shouldn’t be a secret

Being able to voice your opinion in the workplace is very important. You don’t want to feel afraid to speak up for fear of being seen differently.

It’s about having the support in the company, not having to keep your private life completely private. You are a mum and there are challenges you face.

  1. Career progression matters

It’s a fact that women are still massively underrepresented in senior positions. In January, women across the Netherlands changed their name on LinkedIn to Peter to raise awareness that there are more Dutch CEOs called Peter than CEOs who are female.

Having families isn’t the only reason this bias is happening. But, companies can make sure the career progression offered to women doesn’t stop after they have children. Many employers assume mums returning to work after maternity leave will want to be on ‘cruise’ mode. This assumption may mean they are kept away from promotion opportunities or new challenges. Let’s ask what people want before deciding for them!

Reaching an objective is a main indicator of fulfilment at work. If those objectives are not there, employees (in this case working mums) will get disengaged.

Companies should review what they are doing to help people grow into senior leader roles and develop their skills. That’s so important.

  1. Flexible working is vital

Working Mums

One of the few good things about Covid was the rise of flexible working. This is brilliant for working parents, making it much easier to manage work along with unavoidable things, like looking after sick children. Instead of 9 to 5, you could, say, work from 8-3 then jump back online in the evening.

When you have younger children, there are a lot of extra costs when you go back to work. In many countries, including the Netherlands and Switzerland, school aftercare is expensive, and private childcare can be hard to find. You have to pay these extra fees to show you can do the same job as someone else, but still be a mum. Flexible working arrangements can take some of the pressure off.

Now, there’s the discussion around the 4-day working week. That could tie in with working mums having more time, while delivering the same quality of work.

  1. Our idea of a reward might be different

What a company sees as beneficial, or a bonus is not always the same for everyone in the team. People have different expectations or requirements in life. Some thrive on a monetary value for performance, some like a weekend away as they get to be free.

Company rewards that involve a night out might not be what working mums are looking for, involving extra childcare arrangements. Or, it might be perfect! It’s about asking the question.

What it comes down to, is that if companies support their workforce, whatever diversity that person has, people will stay for longer. If you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself going through the whole process of hiring all over again.

What is your experience as a working mum? Have you been supported and been able to develop in your career, or faced bias? I’d love to hear from you.

Carey Nell

Account Manager, Amsterdam Office

Since 2015, Tony Hayes has been driving the digital transformation agenda at Arrows Group Global.


In the third of our ‘Who We Are’ series, join as we talk in-depth on topics including data as the heartbeat of the industry, what it takes to digitally transform and advice for those looking to start out in the sector. 

Welcome, Tony. Can you tell us a bit about your background and the path that has taken your role as Tech Director at Arrows Group Global?

I landed in recruitment at the end of the 00’s. My first roles involved delivering CRM solutions for staffing businesses and that was quite timely. We were starting to see a proliferation of Software as a Service (SaaS), with online CRM systems starting to replace more traditional on-premise databases. This change started opening the recruitment industry to adopting more technology in the digital space.

I worked for several businesses, either as an employee or as a consultant. In 2015, I was approached by Arrows to take ownership of their technology roadmap. Arrows was an early adopter of technology. They were already thinking about how to improve productivity and effectiveness through a richer understanding of data and business insights and that mindset really motivated me to join.

My mandate has changed alongside the presence of technology within the industry. Now, in my role, I look to identify the right technology and make sure it’s fully adopted, a valuable investment, and that it supports colleagues to achieve productivity levels that would be impossible without it.

With the pace of change of technology, how has your role evolved?    

In the early days of my career, it was quite difficult to convince teams to adopt technology. Tech spend was often viewed as a necessary evil, with companies preferring to invest in sales capabilities. Going back to c. 2010, there was a fair amount of suspicion about the role of technology within recruitment! The industry wasn’t yet mature enough to articulate the justification for it; people didn’t know what it should look like or how to optimize it.

Over the last decade, technology has become completely embedded in the productivity of any business. New technology has emerged that has transcended general activity tracking. What we’ve all been through in the last two years and the reliance on digital services has also had a huge impact.

The recruitment industry has been preparing for our current phase of digital transformation, where data is the heartbeat, since 2018/19. Deploying the ecosystem and harnessing the capabilities of AI, machine learning and automation. That’s the trinity.

The role someone like myself plays within industry today is a million miles away from that necessary evil of ten years ago, which is quite satisfying! Most importantly, it’s now clear to see the impact digital transformation can have from the desk level up for businesses, employing a little bit of science into the art of recruitment.

“ … it’s now clear to see the impact digital transformation can have from the desk level up for businesses, employing a little bit of science into the art of recruitment.”

It’s clear you are an advocate for the power of digital transformation in the recruitment space. How do technology advancements create benefits for recruitment companies, their clients and candidates?   

It’s a huge question, but I’ll try to unpack it!

I’m not advocating as a type of crusade. But, taking a step back, the recruitment space is probably one of the final enterprise-level industries that hasn’t completely adopted digital transformation. If you look at retail space, travel, accommodation. for example, they’ve been completely digitally transformed.

For clients, we’re talking about market differentiators. Companies need to be able to operate efficiently, get access to talent quicker and optimize their recruitment experience. They come to companies such as Arrows to achieve that, as we have developed a digital product offering that is an enjoyable experience to be involved in and produces long-standing results.

For Arrows Group, because we operate within the tech recruitment space, digital transformation means we subscribe to the same principles our clients work to. It’s a more harmonious relationship.

For candidates, convenience is important and digital transformation supports that. They can enjoy a better experience because they have more consistent, richer relationships with a smaller number of people. They can be in contact with us at a time that’s more convenient to them and be presented with more relevant opportunities.

For Arrows, our consultants are liberated from the more traditional admin duties of a non-digitally transformed environment. This gives them the opportunity to be more consultative, spending more time talking to candidates or clients.

The impact for company stakeholders / shareholders is also considerable. If you execute tech correctly, you should expect around 10 times the return on your people investment. So, digital transformation is not just about technology. It’s about people, process and data and harnessing the potential of those components.

It’s interesting that you talk about tech liberating deeper human relationships. You seem to be describing technology as supporting better relationships, not removing the personal element.  

This is where the data, people and process elements come in. Simply deploying technology is not going to make you successful overnight. But, by understanding what digital transformation is trying to achieve, which is to enrich the experience of candidates, clients and companies to devote more time to what we’re truly unique at doing, it serves everybody to create a pleasant and productive experience.

“Simply deploying technology is not going to make you successful overnight.”

To what extent has the availability of universal data sources, starting with something like LinkedIn, been a driver for recruitment companies to improve data efficiency and tools? 

In the early 2010’s, there was a real drive and grab for data in the industry – the more the better! To some degree, that’s still a challenge.

More mature technology-led businesses will understand why the highest-performing consultants don’t have 10,000 candidates or 3,000 clients. They’ve got a small, optimal network that is highly valuable. They manage, nurture and develop those networks really effectively, to ensure a world-class candidate and client experience.

There are so many different data sources now, the challenge isn’t the quantity but the quality of it. If you aren’t confident in the quality of your data, your entire digital transformation strategy is going to fall down. This is especially true when you progress towards AI and machine learning, which rely on, or assume, that the data they operate under is accurate.

Now for a change of direction – what are the most important things people should know about you?

I’m motivated to be a thought leader within the recruitment space. I’ve been supporting businesses with digital transformation through my entire career and want to be known as the guy to go to for advice, guidance, and support.

Prior to landing in the industry, I weaved an interesting web travelling the world as a DJ. That’s as much as I’ll share on that one for now!    

Arrows Group describes itself as a technology-led recruitment company. Do you believe the recruitment company of the future will be as much a tech business as a recruiting business?  

I’m inspired and motivated to work with a company / team who want to be known as a technology-led recruitment business. That really aligns with my values. Does that mean we’re the finished article? Absolutely not.

It’s not realistic for a business to say they’re perfect in terms of use and adoption of technology. The desire and strategic support, though, is unwavering. It’s on me to keep on driving the high expectations of the business to deliver the digital roadmap.

There are plenty of successful businesses that have barely even begun their transformation journey. Lots of industries rely on people, process and a whole lot of hard work. If they can be that successful without digital transformation, what might the extra benefits be with it?

What are some of the biggest barriers to implementing new technologies at scale?  

Impatience and unrealistic timeframes. That comes back to someone like me giving the confidence that we can get a business to where it wants to be, but that it’s going to take time, money and perhaps some tears along the way!

If transformation is at scale, the foundations are even more significant. For Arrows, for example, this was about getting a best-in-class CRM and making sure the data in it was as clean as it could be. Then, from there, developing a data strategy and insights roadmap.

Once you become a data-led business, then you can truly become a technology-led business. You will have the capability to report, forecast and provide insights and a demographic willing to absorb and react to the information. If you try to do it all at once, the change challenge may be too much.

“Once you become a data-led business, then you can truly become a technology-led business.”

Subscription to this needs to be from the top down. Leaders need to be able to demonstrate that they too are adopting technology changes, and that their productivity is enhanced. It can’t be a question of do what I say, not what I do!

What’s in the Arrows Group Global Tech Stack? We’d love a tour …

We’re proud of our tech stack and quite transparent about it. So, by all means, take a look!

I’m always looking to satisfy strategic objectives from any of our tech partnerships. I always need to be confident there will be a worthwhile return.

Front and centre is our CMS system, Bullhorn. I’ve been collaborating with them for more than 10 years; the system is the sun around which the rest of our tech orbits. Circling this is world-class recruitment providers, who allow us to deliver a complete end-to-end experience.

A diamond in our crown is Cube19, through which we offer data insights and reporting analytics. We’ve partnered with them since 2018. Cube19 is pivotal to our day-to-day operations. Through it, we’ve advanced from traditional reporting to data-led decisions at every level of the business. We can perpetually challenge our data to give us clearer insights and efficiency gains for our teams and external partners alike.

Another partner is Sourcebreaker, a machine learning and AI search and lead generation tools. It’s fantastic for improving efficiency on delivery.

And I’ll also mention Herefish, which offers AI powered automation. Among the many, many things it supports is access to the right candidates at the right time, a better experience for contractors and it frees consultants from manual admin, allowing them to own their own marketing and brand.

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?  

Professionally, inspiration comes for me when I see people who truly engage in and adopt digital transformation.

What advice would you give to any young people considering a career in data analytics / business intelligence?

Get in touch with me – we might have jobs going!

A good University level education will stand you in good stead, as will a natural appetite for data and analytics. There are opportunities to embrace and engage with data everywhere – you can follow the analytics around football games for example!

There are lots of communities, particularly on sites like LinkedIn, where people within the industry are happy to welcome you and talk on the topic. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn for guidance on those or any other advice on the topic.

And finally, you’re a fan of endurance, obstacle events. What’s the toughest one you’ve tackled yet and what are your top tips for getting through them?    

I’m a huge fan of cross-fit training and the community element of it. The toughest one by a mile was the London Marathon. The first half was a joy, and the second half was hell on earth! Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to redress that battle again this year if I get a place again.

It’s the community element you get with these challenges I love, whether it’s training for them or the day itself. These events bring people together to achieve goals they’ve set out to do for a long time. There are parallels between that and the digital transformation journey, right?!


LONDON – 10 March 2022 – Arrows Group (‘Arrows Group Ltd’), a global technology talent solutions company, and Unibeez (‘Unibeez Ltd’), a SaaS platform specialising in Gen Z talent, have announced a strategic partnership focussed on bridging the education gap between tech and data.

The two companies will work together to source, train and mentor top emerging talent, pipelining the way to a brighter future for the tech and data industry.

Unibeez is a digital start-up; a platform connecting students and graduates with paid remote project work, internships, and placements they can do while they study, helping them to build skills and experience whilst getting paid. Companies like Sky, InformaTech, Ascential and Just Giving are working with Unibeez, with the unique proposition of being able to engage, test and train candidates before taking them on in graduate positions. The platform uses AI technology to match its (predominantly) Gen Z cohort to roles, by their skills alone, with a strong social mission to eliminate hiring bias and ensuring equal access to all.

Arrows Group, part of the Majar Group of companies, specialises in solving tech recruitment skills gaps for global businesses, and already runs programs such as FutureScaleTM, an accelerated careers program, sourcing the top 1% of STEM talent, training them into highly skilled consultants to be plugged into tech and data roles for two-year placements, with the option to take on permanently from there.

unibeez partnership with ArrowsFor Arrows Group, the Unibeez partnership allows unlimited early access to a vast pool of skilled and diverse student talent to their existing customers, helping them to bridge an ever-widening gap between education and entry level jobs in tech and data and giving them first mover advantage on Gen Z skills.

Unibeez and Arrows Group will together drive innovation and technological advancement in hire and strongly advocate the removal of hiring bias. Unibeez is already proving highly successful at this, with over 70% of its cohort female and over 40% STEM.

Charlie Sell, Group MD of Arrows Group said, “We have been hugely impressed with the Unibeez offering from the beginning. The calibre of students we’ve met through the platform has been exceptional and we’re delighted to extend this offering to our customers through our new partnership. We put great importance on supporting and investing in the UK’s future workforce by connecting them with the best hiring brands, and Unibeez allows us to do just that.”

Chris Keenan, Co-Founder and CEO of Unibeez said, “Collaborating with Arrows Group allows us to connect the brightest young talent with the most innovative hirers in the marketplace, helping to secure their futures and driving diversity in hire. We offer Arrows’ customers enhanced access to position their brands to Gen Z, helping them to ‘win the war for talent’. Together we are driving dynamic change in talent hiring practice from the ground up.” Find out more about Unibeez here.

Editor’s Notes:

About Arrows Group

Established in 2003, Arrows Group deliver global technology talent solutions and work with some of the best-known brands in the world to help solve their technology skills challenges. For more, visit:

Media Contacts

Majar Group – James Parsons (Group CEO) E-mail:

About Unibeez

Unibeez is a digital platform connecting students and graduates with flexible jobs at some of the UK’s most forward-thinking companies. Students gain real-world work experience, whilst being paid a good wage, building a strong digital profile and meeting potential future employers. Remote rolling projects to entry level hire. Unibeez hirers are supporters of future talent, investors in work readiness skills and advocates of diversity, inclusion and equal access. Visit:

Unibeez – Laura Gilbert (Communications Director) E-mail: