Throughout the first week of March, we celebrate the diverse contributions of women from all walks of life – including those we know best. With that in mind, we thought it was a great time to celebrate our very own Asquith Managing, Director Jillian Asquith whose strength, warmth, and confidence has allowed her to create an agency that is slowly changing the face of the recruitment and labour hire industry, a little more each day.
Since founding Asquith Workforce, a 100 per cent Aboriginal-owned and operated labour hire and recruitment company, Jillian Asquith has shown outstanding commitment and leadership within the recruitment and staffing industry on several levels.
Having been a recruitment specialist for more than 15 years, in 2015 Jillian made the decision to leave a large corporate recruitment agency with aim of seeing her own vision for the industry she loves come to fruition.
With the goal of re-defining both the wider perception of the industry and the experience of those who choose recruitment as a career, Jillian has spent the past five years committed to changing the face of recruitment through visionary leadership, community engagement, staff mentoring, and closing the gap within indigenous business opportunities and perceptions.
As an indigenous woman, Jillian is dedicated to ensuring both Aboriginal start-ups and candidates are given every opportunity to succeed.
An example of this is when Asquith Workforce, under Jillian’s leadership, was able to answer the call of Aboriginal civil earthmoving company Yunaga Civil & Earth as part of RSCA’s #LoveYourWork campaign. By partnering with existing client Daracon, as well as Westrac and SME aggregator ServeGate, Jillian and her Asquith Workforce team were able to play a major role in demonstrating the value agencies can provide through contributing to communities, business, and economies. The success of the 2020 Yunaga project has been well documented and is a perfect example of Jillian’s leadership and commitment to showcasing how agency recruitment services can contribute to the economic landscape, and can potentially play a role in determining the outcome of business start-ups.
Further to this, Jillian is dedicated to taking a leadership role in the area of Aboriginal employment and is passionate about her company’s dedicated indigenous division.
Within this space, throughout her career Jillian has shown outstanding commitment and leadership in the area of pre-employment and indigenous participation in the workforce. Part of this important body of work includes leading disadvantaged youth programs around pre-employment and soft skills, as well as providing strategic direction around how to begin a job search and gaining the skills required to be employable.
Jillian’s commitment to Aboriginal equal opportunity is a reflection of her dedication to the wider community and ensuring recruitment agencies not only assist in connecting employers with staff, but also contribute to broader outcomes in the area of mental health and wellbeing.
An example of this is a recent collaborative program held in conjunction with non-profit organisation Lifeline. The Mind Your Mates breakfast workshop, led by Jillian and her team, was held as a result of a blue-collar client’s concerns over a spike in mental health issues due to the impacts of COVID-19. In response, Jillian and her team expertly addressed the client’s staff on the importance of mental health, suicide prevention, and best practice around recognising the signs of mental health issues in colleagues.
Jillian’s dedication to the Aboriginal and broader community is also reflected in her leadership style within the Asquith Workforce office. As Managing Director, she is dedicated to changing the face of recruitment the only way she knows how – though leading by example.
Jillian says it best when she describes her vision for the future of recruitment:
‘My dream was to create an organisation that would not only provide me and my family with opportunities, but also change the lives of everyone we come into contact with, whether that’s through being able to provide positions for recruitment staff which offer job satisfaction and opportunities for professional growth or by providing candidates with the right role and as a result giving them financial and emotional opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.’
With these goals in mind, Jillian leads by example at every opportunity, including being the only Aboriginal person to be elected as an RCSA Council member NSW/ACT, and participating in Portfolio of Pathways to Professionalism, and Networking and Collaboration.
Under her leadership, Asquith Workforce has experienced exponential growth since 2015 and has expanded to include the Hunter-based head office in Newcastle, as well as Sydney-based office located at Barangaroo.
In the past four years, Asquith Workforce has been nominated as a Finalist for “Excellence in Small Business” Hunter Business Awards in 2017, 2019, and 2020, as well as NSW Training Award 2020 – Hunter Region Finalist Trainee of the Year.
Each and every day Jillian works to change the perception of recruitment and the experience of her staff by actively ensuring they communicate with passion, patience, and understanding. As Managing Director, Jillian’s vision for both her company and the industry is to build long-lasting relationships rather than to fall back on a poorly executed quick and flick culture that provides little value for clients, candidates or internal staff.