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Saira Demmer - Recruitment Leader of the Year

By Louise Hannigan
Saira Demmer Recruitment Leader of the Year

WINNER: The Mishcon de Reya Recruitment Leader of the Year - 2023 TIARA Recruitment Awards

In the recruitment industry, just 26% of firms have specific initiatives for retaining women in the workplace. Saira Demmer, SF Recruitment's CEO, is committed to fostering a dynamic, inclusive, and people-centric environment. Under her leadership, several strategic initiatives have been launched:

Saira prioritises People Management, epitomised by The SF Experience©. This positions SF as the preferred employer for experienced talent, offering industry-leading rewards and an exceptional work-life balance, regardless of personal circumstances.

The Office Structure at SF has transformed from three divisions to six, encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour to thrive.

Embracing Technology, SF adopted a proprietary CRM platform, streamlining access to over 100,000 candidate profiles on a user-friendly platform, enabling the team to focus on human-centric tasks.

SF also leads in promoting minority ethnic representation: 35% of new hires are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

All SF employees undergo Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) training.

Saira champions flexible working and gender equality through the "Flex for Success" initiative. This pledge advocates for normalizing flexible working as the standard, encouraging clients to offer flexible work options to enhance DE&I efforts. Currently, 75% of client roles at SF offer flexible working, a significant increase from the national average of 26%.

Saira initiated the "Inspiring Women in Business" interview series, destigmatising and acknowledging the challenges women face on their journey to success.

Since becoming CEO in 2020, Saira's commitment to improving client attraction and retention through flexibility has transformed SF into a trusted advisor, reflected in key metrics:

Achieving a 75% client retention rate, up from 65% in FYE2021.

An average client spend increase of £3000 in FYE2021

Serving 1065 unique clients, compared to 667 in FYE2021.

Promoting flexible working in job advertisements has led to a 90% increase in candidate applications, particularly valuable in a candidate-short market.

This transformation has attracted experienced recruitment professionals to the business; with consultants averaging nine years and two months of experience, ensuring precise sector expertise and market knowledge.

SF's internal adoption of flexible working has positioned the organisation as a trusted advisor. 

Judges comments:

Judges praised Saira for the huge impact she has had on SF Recruitment, navigating the business through challenging times and enabling her team to maximise opportunities for growth. Saira is an authentic and inspirational leader, setting an example as a role model for how to get the best out of people by empowering them to realise their full potential. Congratulations Saira!

Saira TIARA award
Louise Hannigan
Louise Hannigan
Employee Engagement Manager