Ash Nair's take on IWD at Robert Walters

We spoke to Ash Nair, Consultant at Robert Walters Adelaide, about what International Women's Day means to her and how this is embraced at Robert Walters.  Here's what she had to say:
1. Please can you share with us a little about you and background at Robert Walters?

I started off my career in a completely different field. I had a background in Law and was doing Pre-Legal claims and Process Improvement in a completely different industry in Malaysia. I got into recruitment by chance. One of my close friends had just started at Robert Walters Malaysia and was telling me about her role and the culture in the company. I needed a change at the time. The more she spoke to me about her job and recruitment, the more it piqued my interest. So when a vacancy opened up, she suggested my name to the manager. The rest, as they say, is history. I ended up joining the HR recruitment team in Malaysia. A year later, when I decided to migrate to Australia to join my partner in Adelaide, Robert Walters supported my move by offering me a role in the Adelaide office.

I was doing a little bit of everything when I first started in Robert Walters Adelaide. Michelle and the rest of the management team was great about letting me find my feet in the Adelaide market. Due to my previous experience in Malaysia, I started supporting HR roles and went on to Business Support and Operations. Shortly after this, the Technology team underwent some changes, so I joined the Technology and Transformation team and found I had a knack and interest for Technology roles!   . 

2. What do you enjoy most about your role at Robert Walters?

I love that we meet very interesting people and make an impact on their lives. No matter how big or small, our job literally changes the trajectory of someone’s life. I’ve placed people in their first jobs, mums returning to the workforce after years of taking care of their family etc - the impact and change you’ve made in their lives is very rewarding. 

3. What does #breakthebias mean to you?

As a woman of colour who has pretty much been a “minority” her whole life, I guess I have a lot of thoughts on this. I feel that in order to #breakthebias, you first have to understand what bias is. It can come from all shapes and forms - gender and race are the most common, but also age, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socio-economic background etc. And as much as we all like to think that we are unbiased in our every day life, unconscious bias is a very hard thing to shake off. I think it is deep-sated and developed in our formative years, generally based on beliefs passed down from parents/family etc.

Understanding and acknowledging - that is the first step to breaking the bias. We have to try to do better than the generation before us, so that the generation after us will do better than us.

Once we start recognising the bias in ourselves, we can call-out/stand-up against the bias in other areas, be it in our communities, workplace, schools etc. 

4. How do you believe we can #breakthebias in the workplace?

I think it’s important to speak up when you see bias happening regardless of the type of bias. In the workplace, traditionally as gender bias has been more prevalent, everyone has a role to play when it comes to forging gender equality. So it is important to speak up when you see something untoward happening. Thankfully, like at Robert Walters, most companies have support networks in place to address these issues. It is essential that we use the channels and tools available to us to highlight these issues.

5. Do you have any advice to give other women?

I think the most important thing is to persevere and to be patient. Migrating to a new country has its own unique set of challenges – missing family and friends back home, language barrier, culture shock, fitting in and making new friends, worrying about finances – but it is important to hang in there and know that you’ll make it through. It’s also your chance to make any changes in your life, embrace a new lifestyle and try new things. Grab any new opportunities that come your way, you never know where it’ll lead you. And most importantly, connect with people. Moving to a new country can be very lonely, so it’s important to build your family/friend circle in your new home. Hang out with your workmates, join social clubs and meet new people. The key thing is to put yourself out there. Like most things in life, the more you put into making friends, the more you will get out of it. 

If you are interested in finding out more about what it's like to work at Robert Walters and the opportunities we have on offer, click here.

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