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The 10 Most Successful Women Leaders to Follow in 2023

Updated: May 10

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from City, University of London and a Master’s from DePaul University in Chicago, I began my recruitment career on the Graduate Scheme at Hays. Fast-tracked into management roles, I achieved four promotions in four years and took a team from billing £10,000 to £80,000 a month.

From Hays I then moved to Michael Page, where I worked on a hybrid desk across permanent and interim senior leadership roles. I was given responsibility for growing Michael Page’s Public Sector division from its offices in London. I soon became the company’s number one biller in HR across the UK, but I always wanted to pursue an entrepreneurial route. Having already set up executive desks at both Hays and Michael Page, I switched my focus to establishing a business of my own, and in 2011, Oliver Sanderson was born. What started as one woman on a laptop has grown into an international business at the cutting edge of executive search, working with big clients, winning awards, and making a difference internationally!

Oliver Sanderson

Oliver Sanderson is an executive search firm with a difference, combining experience and expertise with innovation and fresh thinking. Our Values of Honesty, Integrity and Passion are at the heart of everything we do. Our aim is to help clients achieve greatness by attracting, developing and retaining professionals of the highest calibre. We ensure that clients strengthen their organisations by identifying and recruiting the very best individuals, as well as supporting their progression into accomplished leaders.

Oliver Sanderson has built up a strong track record of senior and C-suite appointments at FTSE 100, FTSE 250, and Fortune 500 companies. We offer end-to-end recruitment and consultancy solutions and our team of highly experienced consultants offer a bespoke service designed to satisfy all recruitment and consultancy requirements. Unlike other recruiters, we offer a genuinely consultative service that ensures we listen to the client’s needs and tailor the search process accordingly. This ensures that we can comprehensively search for candidates that are the best possible fit for the company and role.

Our pioneering digital solutions set us apart from the competition. With our innovative suite of digital apps, including Snapp – the world’s first voice-technology enabled mobile jobs platform with exclusive Amazon Alexa integration – we are leading the way in discovering the next generation of business leaders.

How the recruitment industry is changing

The recruitment industry has already undergone a process of transformation triggered by the pandemic. We are now seeing a candidate-led market – talented candidates are in demand, and they are now setting their own terms, especially with regard to flexible working arrangements. There is no longer any obligation to commute, or spend the whole working week in the office, and companies are building diverse, multi-talented teams operating across different countries and different time zones. There is now a bigger global talent pool to choose from, but the competition for talent is also increased. I expect this trend to continue, with recruiter workloads increasing rapidly. The widening gap between supply and demand is forcing recruiters to work harder to find talent and fill roles. This is where technology and automation can help massively to reduce recruiter workloads and help relieve pressure. New tools and evolving technologies are entering the recruitment space all the time. Of course, there’s no substitute for a talented recruitment team, but HR tech stacks can include solutions for chatbots, candidate screening, AI skills matching, video interviewing and much more! This can all help to streamline the recruitment process and help the recruiter focus on what they do best.

Flexibility is becoming a priority for candidates. Flexible working doesn’t just mean a combination of working from home and in the office – it can mean employees making use of job-sharing, flexitime, and working compressed, annualised, or staggered hours. Businesses are set to benefit from higher productivity and staff retention as a result. LinkedIn Sales Director Cara O’Leary recently revealed that flexibility has become the number one priority for candidates searching for a new job on the platform. It’s clear, then, that employers will need to be offering flexibility in location, hours or other areas to attract talented candidates in the competitive market. We are also likely to see more businesses opting to move to a 4-day working week given the positive results from the recent UK trial.

Successful Leadership

I think it is vital to be aware of the needs of the sector, the job market, and the requirements of one’s company and people. I firmly believe that a leader should have passion, drive, energy, honesty, integrity, and humor, to name a few! A leader has to be open-minded and find solutions through difficult times. They must be challenged, actively listen, constantly know that they are always learning, and be open to others guiding them. As a business grows, a leader should be apt at identifying and cultivating talent – proper succession planning is vital to longevity. Never be afraid to speak up in the boardroom and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other leaders, but at the same time be open to listening and change. Nobody knows everything and there is always room to learn from others in industry.

Our team has driven our growth from day one, and I work hard every day to keep my team motivated and engaged with our vision and our journey. As a leader, it is vital that I am always challenging, supporting, and inspiring them. We set monthly and annual targets to hit for our team across a number of areas, from sales to social media engagement. But we also support each other, understanding that growth isn’t always linear, and we sometimes learn more from failure than from success.


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