To mark International Women’s Day 2020, we spoke to KPC International’s Head of Talent Acquisition EMEA, Sam Bengtson. Sam joined the KPC team in 2016 and as key member of the Management Team has led on the development of the KPC recruitment and retention process of employees and consultants for our projects. We spoke to Sam about her career to date and her advice for women in pursuit of senior management roles.

Hi Sam, can you tell us a bit about how you got started in the industry?

I was introduced to the industry when I first moved to Ireland 12 years ago when I worked for a recruitment company that specialized in placing engineers and scientists into pharmaceutical companies around Munster.  I then moved to a company that specialized in placing independent consultants on projects in the life science industry around Europe.

Tell us more about your career with KPC?

My career at KPC has allowed me to develop more into the strategic space, which is what I have been working towards over the last number of years.  In being part of the senior leadership team, I am able to provide valuable ideas and input into various projects and operational activities within the business.  My role also involves a lot of hands-on work too, so I am still able to utilize my skillset in the TA space to contribute towards the growth of the KPC Business.

Based on your own experience in Talent Acquisition, do you think much progress has been made in achieving gender balance in the STEM fields?

I think some progress has been made in terms of focusing on the development of young women in STEM, but I do feel that we still have a lot more progress to make in this area to achieve gender parity here as I see that women are still very much underrepresented in areas like engineering and computer science.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman pursuing seniority in their career?

Have clear goals on where you want to get to in your career and be brave in your pursuit of achieving them!  Don’t be afraid to fail either, as this is where you learn and grow.  Lastly, I believe that anyone wishing to pursue a level of seniority in their career should also focus on their own personal development – invest in yourself! You will encounter many challenges and strong personalities, and there will almost certainly be times where will need to be able to stand up for your convictions/ideas and be able to push back to be heard.

What are the main challenges you have encountered in your career to get to where you are today?

The main challenge I have faced throughout my career has been in terms of my continuous development. Most roles I have held have stagnated at some point due to not providing any further opportunities to grow and learn, which has been challenging to deal with.

You can read more about the KPC International team by clicking here. If you’re interested in joining our team, you can visit our careers portal here, or read more Employee Stories over on our News page to learn more about life at KPC!