Karren Brady, the Government’s business adviser and Lord Alan Sugar’s right-hand woman on The Apprentice, has condemned the “antiquated” attitude of a female candidate in the BBC series who said that women need to wear short skirts and make-up to succeed in business.
Baroness Brady, who will take her seat in the Lords in November, said she “gasped” in amazement when Sarah Dales, project manager for the “girls” team in the opening episode of the returning business talent search, instructed her colleagues: “What we need to do is wear loads of lipstick, make up, heels, we’re going to wear short skirts.”
Dales, 32, a hypnotherapist who volunteered for the team captain role in the selling task, said “most people will buy from females because females are more attractive to look at.”
Baroness Brady, who had been monitoring the “boys” team but saw the footage in the episode, said: “I think Sarah is rather lucky that I wasn’t following her. She may not have lasted very long.
“I think it’s a very old fashioned attitude, that you’ve got to wear short skirts and a lot of make up to get on in life. I think most women look at that and laugh. I think those are antiquated views from a bygone age that thankfully is no longer around.”
She added: “I would most certainly have said something. I would have said there’s a lot of young women who watch the show, a lot of young people who take inspiration from the show, and how hard we fight for equality – to take it all down to a lot of lipstick and a short skirt is not how I’d like the women of the show to be portrayed. Do you really believe those old fashioned views, the shorter the skirt, the more the make-up?”
The Apprentice 2014: Meet the candidates
The Apprentice 2014: Meet the candidates
1/19 Mark Wright, 24, London
Australian-born Mark has been recognised repeatedly for the highest revenue growth in his company, where he supports internet marketing consultants.
He has been working in sales for the digital health and fitness industries for nine years and his first job was washing cars for his dad's business.
Mark says he is easy to talk to, orgnaised and ambitious. He names his business inspirations as John D Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan as they are all entrepreneurs who have built their own empires.
He said: 'I'm very, very aggressive. I will not leave the room without getting a sale.'
2/19 Bianca Miller, 25, London
After university, Bianca joined a major management and technology consulting firm as a human resources advisor, before launching her own business at the age of 23.
Her branding company, The Be Group, was named as one of the Startups 100 businesses of 2013. Bianca calls herself determined, ambitious and pedantic.
She said: 'I regret not becoming a scientist so I could clone myself and be more successful in half the time.'
3/19 James Hill, 26, Chesterfield
James got his start in business when he set up a hand car wash, and has since launched other businesses including supplying gaming machines to bars and clubs in the UK and Ireland, and opening a restaurant and bar.
He says he is enthusiastic and energetic with a drive to succeed, but admits that he can be a bit of a know-it-all.
He said: 'Me and Lord Sugar could build an empire together. I think I am him when he was my age.'
4/19 Daniel Lassman, 27, Essex
Daniel used to be a footballer before running his own pub quiz company - he had a year's contract with Hornchurch FC, but it was not renewed when he got injured. He has also worked as a market trader in his family business. He says James Caan is an inspiration to him in business because of his calm and collected manner.
He said: 'I will out-sell them, I will out-class them and I will perform the best just by being me.'
5/19 Katie Bulmer-Cooke, 27, Sunderland
Katie has won several awards for her work as a personal trainer. She creates and markets her own work-out programmes and DVDs and has been a health and fitness expert for Argos.
She would describe herself as honest, down-to-earth and energetic.
She said: 'In business I'm like a little stealth bomber that flies under the radar and smashes the competition before they've even realised I'm here.'
6/19 Lauren Riley, 28, London
As a family solicitor, Lauren specialises in family law, including divorce, separation, finances and property, and says she is passionate about achieving fair outcomes for her clients.
She says she is outgoing and ambitious, and wishes that she had had the idea for Facebook.
She said: 'I'm absolutely not a shrinking violet. I'm very known for speaking my own mind.'
7/19 Sanjay Sood-Smith, 27, London
Sanjay is responsible for the online sales strategy of three national banking brands and previously worked as a bank manager who improved the ranking of his branch from the 900s to 30th in the space of six months.
He was put in charge of 14 London retail branches because of his success. Sanjay describes himself as practical, enthusiastic and generous, but says he can worry too much.
He said: 'If I had to choose between friendship and profit I'd choose profit. I'm not in this process to make friends with people, I'm here to win.'
8/19 Roisin Hogan, 32, Dublin
A chartered accountant, Roisin is following her dream to start her own business. She says she is confident, driven and creative, and being a risk taker has also made her a keen poker player in her spare time.
She said: 'Manipulate, persuade and conquer. I would identify my opponent's weaknesses and pick them off one by one.'
9/19 Sarah Dales, 32, London
Sarah works as an executive assistant for a top financial firm, and previously worked at Goldman Sachs, while also running her own hypnotherapy and match-making businesses.
She describes herself as hard-working, positive and tenacious, though she can repeat herself if she feels she is not being listened to. Her proudest business achievement is setting up her hypnotherapy practice on Harley Street.
She said: 'I am the pioneer and the ground breaker, and I possess all the talents to succeed.'
10/19 Solomon Akhtar, 22, London
Solomon works at a creative agency, but also runs his own company, a social media technology business. He has created and managed student events before, including a shop lock-in and group yacht trip around Croatia.
He calls himself enthusiastic, energetic, personable and passionate about technology and travel.
He said: 'I am from the 'ideas generation'; because of my age, I understand technology and how to turn it into a business.'
11/19 Felipe Alviar-Baquero, 33, Kent
Colombian-born Felipe works as a solicitor at an international law firm and was named one of the Top 100 Columbians in 2012, the same year that he was an Olympic torchbearer. Felipe describes his biggest business achievement as designing and launching a children's play area.
He is passionate about social entrepreneurship and is a trustee for a British charity supporting vulnerable children in Colombia.
He said: 'I studied law because I wanted to change the world. But my real passion is business.'
12/19 Jemma Bird, 26, West Midlands
Jemma rates Simon Cowell as a role model. She is a trained dancer and dance teacher and passionate about the arts.
Her proudest business achievement to date has been founding an entertainment cabaret agency, for which she scouts performers, sources bookings, produces performances and markets the business.
She said: 'I'm always the girl that nearly wins, I'm hoping this time it will be different.'
13/19 Steven Ugoalah, 25, London
Canadian Steven spent a year travelling the Arctic for a community development social work project with remote Inuit communities.
He now lives in London, running his own social work consultancy as well as managing a property portfolio. Steven says he is resourceful, dynamic and a great negotiator but admits he often becomes frustrated when people do not have the same high standards as him.
He said: 'I can deliver in minus 50, I can deliver in plus 10. If we went to Mars right now, I'd find a way to be excellent.'
14/19 Chiles Cartwright,35, Shropshire
Chiles owns a consultancy business and a building materials supplier, and before that he worked in management for international consumer brands for nine years.
He describes himself as self-motivated, loyal and committed to everything he does. Chiles also has a passion for martial arts and is a black belt in karate.
He said: 'I consider myself one of the most credible candidates in this process. I don't believe that anyone has the wealth and breadth of business acumen that I've gained over the years.'
15/19 Ella Jade Bitton, 25, Hertfordshire
Ella's first job was working as a fashion studio assistant for designer Jonathan Saunders. At 16, she negotiated an interior design concession stand in Harrods for her family business. Since leaving university, she has been responsible for the marketing strategy and online presence of her family's interior design company.
She said: 'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.'
16/19 Scott McCulloch, 24, East Kilbride
Scott started out with a recruitment company after leaving school and is now responsible for global strategic partnerships between clinical development companies. He has previously travelled the world to work with emerging markets in business development for clinical research.
Scott says he is determined, trustworthy and hungry to succeed. He admires the brands Pfizer and GSK, and businessmen such as Peter Jones.
He said: 'From the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep, making money and conducting business is on my mind.'
17/19 Lindsay Booth, 29, Leicester
A swimming instructor for 14 years, Lindsay is the founder of a swimming academy, which has taught hundreds of children over the past four years. She would describe herself as compassionate and ambitious.
She said: 'The other candidates will underestimate how feisty I am, and how I will fight and prove that I can get to the end.'
18/19 Robert Goodwin, 25, East Sussex
Robert is responsible for the global marketing of an international brand in sports nutrition and has managed a campaign for the company's largest ever advertising spend. His early jobs included being a tennis coach when he was 15 and working in his uncle's art shop.
Robert says he feels inspired by Harry Selfridge for creating market-leading retail services and brands such as Net-A-Porter for their luxurious, aspirational qualities.
He said: 'I'm fearless and if I don't shut up about something, you should just trust it's a well thought out decision.'
19/19 Nurun Ahmed, 36, Peterborough
As well as working full-time as a marketing officer, Nurun runs three businesses. She says she is thoughtful, considerate and a multi-tasker. Her proudest business achievement is setting up three small businesses within 18 months.
She said: 'I'm the type of person that doesn't take five hours to do one job, I do 20 jobs in five hours.'
Baroness Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham United and a Business Woman of the Year winner, who has been touted as a Conservative London Mayoral candidate, said she had no aspirations to run for political office but took her role as the Government’s small business ambassador “very seriously”.
Nick Hewer, Lord Sugar’s other sidekick, said he did not feel any peer pressure even though he is now the only member of the panel who has not been ennobled.
He said: “Oh that I had what they've got to offer the legislature. One day perhaps, though don’t hold your breath.”
The tenth series of The Apprentice, which begins next Tuesday, features 20 contestants, four more than the previous year, with candidates from Colombia, Canada and Australia giving the line-up an international dimension.
The prize remains a £250,000 joint investment in a new business venture with Lord Sugar, who reserves the right to deliver a “double firing” in order to whittle down the numbers.
The candidates contain the usual selection of deluded self-publicists – “I regret not becoming a scientist so I could clone myself and be more successful in half the time,” said Bianca Miller, owner of a “personal branding company.”
The Colombian, Felipe Alviar-Baquero, a lawyer who makes the mistake of telling Lord Sugar he worked for Arsenal, only refers to himself in the third person.
Inter-team bitching and backbiting is the primary theme of the opening street-selling challenge. Lord Sugar’s hackles are raised when he learns that the “girls” have called their team “Decadence”, apparently under the impression they are creating a new fragrance.
Hewer informs them that their chosen name combines “moral turpitude with self-indulgence” and Lord Sugar orders them to come back with a “logical” name after the team admits they did not know what “decadence” meant.Reuse content