Introducing our Ambassador Team - Vicky Parker | Outsource UK
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Introducing our Ambassador Team - Vicky Parker

8th March 2024
Our employees

We believe that everyone has the potential to be the best person for the job, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or disability. Which is why we have a team of Inclusion Ambassadors who are becoming subject matter experts in their special interest. They support our colleagues and our clients on Inclusion and form part of our commitment to be the UK's best inclusive recruiter.

We caught up with Vicky Parker, our Operations Director and Gender Equity Ambassador.


Hi Vicky, tell us about yourself!

This year, I’ll have been at Outsource for 20 years - a slightly scary thought! I started here when I was 22, my second job after university. I originally worked for Anna Kramer in what was then called the Key Accounts Team – essentially a Delivery Recruitment team. I was a Resourcer, then a Recruiter / Account Manager before moving over into an Office Manager and Compliance role. From there, I gradually increased my responsibilities to include different business areas like Marketing and IT and I was invited to join the Outsource Board in 2021.

Why did you choose to be a Gender Equity Ambassador?

I feel really strongly about Gender Equity, both in the recruitment industry and across wider businesses. I think it’s really important that everyone really understands what equity is – it’s not about quotas, or promoting women just to get a certain percentage of women in certain roles, or into senior positions… it’s about levelling the playing field so everyone can compete to be the best person for the job. I also think it’s really important that anyone who gets a promotion, or who achieves a certain level of success, knows it’s been won on merit, not to tick a box. So I want to help to champion true equity, and hopefully support other women to achieve their aspirations.

Can you share your perspective on the current state of gender equity in the Recruitment sector?

I think generally the recruitment sector is still quite male-dominated, particularly in Sales and Sales Leadership roles. That said, I quite often attend events where I have met some fabulous female leaders, and there are some amazing women driving change from an Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) perspective with innovative start-up organisations and new tech solutions which are having a real impact in our sector.

What challenges have you personally faced or observed related to gender equity in the workplace?

Having worked at Outsource for so long, I’ve been lucky enough not to have faced any specific gender equity challenges myself. I’m fortunate to have worked for a number of great leaders and managers (both male and female) who have championed my career and rewarded my achievements.

I don’t have children, but I have seen many of my friends find the return to work process difficult, and struggle with finding a balance, post having a family. There still seems to be a pretty generalised view / stereotype that women are / should be the primary source of childcare, and – as much as employers are trying to address this – taking time out of a career to care for young children does sometimes then affect a woman’s standing in the workplace when she returns to work. Lots of employers are taking positive steps to try to level the playing field here, which is fantastic, but I think it’s still a challenging thing for a lot of women.

How do you believe organisations can effectively address and promote gender equity within their teams?

Some of the changes the People Team at Outsource have made over the past few years have been great positive examples of how we can do just that – flexible working, job share availability, enhanced parental leave – these things make a real difference in terms of supporting women (and men) to be able to balance their home lives with continued progression and opportunities at work.

What are some common misconceptions about gender equity that you would like to clarify?

I think that because more women are entering senior level positions, there is maybe a misconception that gender equity is becoming less of an issue but there's still a long way to go! 

FTSE 100 CEO Diversity Data 2023
Category 2018 2019 2023
Women 7 8 9
Women of Colour 0 0 0
Ethnic Minorites 5 4 7
Andy / Andrew 0 7 5
Steve / Stephen 4 6 4
Peter 0 6 2
Dave / David 9 3 3
Simon 0 0 6

Source: FTSE 100 CEO Diversity Data 2023

I don’t think any woman should be promoted into a senior role to fulfil a quota, but I do think the misconception that positive progress means there is less of a problem isn’t helpful. Gender Pay Gap reports (which all large businesses need to publish) also continue to highlight some of the ongoing issues.

There’s not an easy fix, but open conversations, challenging biases and encouraging our clients to be flexible with their requirements are all small things that we can do to help address some of these issues.

In your opinion, what role do men play in supporting and advancing gender equity in the professional environment?

I think men have an important role to play. There are lots of resources about male allies, and how men can help to break down the barriers that some women face.

There are big, obvious things that male leaders can do – ensuring women are paid equally, taking steps to remove bias from interview/promotion opportunities, championing future female leaders etc. But there are also loads of small steps that everyone could take to challenge gender stereotypes. If you’re in a meeting scenario, is there an expectation that your female colleague will take the notes, or organise the next meeting? If you hear sexist language, or ‘banter’- can you call it out? Sounds obvious, but systematic change stems from lots of small behaviour changes.

I read a great article recently which described how men can support gender equity: “By amplifying women's voices and experiences, challenging stereotypes and educating themselves about gender disparities, men actively engage in reshaping societal norms. Intervening in instances of bias and discrimination, supporting work-life balance and advocating for policies that promote equal opportunities are essential steps in dismantling gendered barriers.”

I think this is a great summary, and actually, the logic here applies to everyone – to create an equitable working environment for everyone we should all we intervene if we see bias or discrimination, we should all be engaging in challenging conversations with each other and our customers, and we should all be trying to reshape any societal norms that place a barrier in front of anyone, or prevent anyone from accessing their chosen job or career. That’s us really living our purpose.

What have you got planned for your role as an Ambassador for this year?

I’ve seen some of the great content that our Ambassador team have produced over the past year and this year I want to make sure I write some more blogs, articles, lunch & learn sessions, and think about how else we as Ambassadors can champion our chosen subjects / communities.

Want to learn more about our Inclusion Ambassador Team? 

Visit our Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance page for more information and a list of all of our Ambassadors.

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