The Experts: Alicia Barker on Increasing Female Executive Representation in Recruitment

Alicia Barker

Chief Operating Officer, Staffing 360 Solutions, Inc.

Alicia is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Staffing 360 Solutions, Inc. She is a dynamic, highly-regarded HR Executive and Certified Professional Coach. She brings 20 years of experience from a variety of fast-paced, competitive industries. She has served in leadership roles for publicly traded companies, independently-owned boutiques and international advertising agencies. Ms. Barker has managed large teams and provided professional development and Executive Coaching to a wide variety of professionals.

Welcome to our video series, The Experts. In the series, we interview staffing and recruitment leaders to hear their perspectives on industry trends, lessons they’ve learned in the careers, and their leadership philosophies.

In this clip, Alicia Barker, Chief Operating Officer at Staffing 360 Solutions, shares how firms can proactively increase female representation in the highest levels of recruitment leadership.

How can we increase the number of female leaders in the recruitment industry?

Alicia Barker: I think we have to look at how our society functions and right now, even though it’s changing, I still think that females are the primary caretaker in the home and the primary caretaker of the children. And I think that until we see more of a joint relationship between men and women, we’re going to continue to see that problem. It’s very challenging and I do it–I’m a single mother of three children. It’s very challenging to be able to manage all of that by yourself when you have to travel and work late hours without a really strong partner. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to surround myself with good support, but not everybody has that opportunity. 

I also think that we can’t make the assumption that because somebody is having a baby that they’re simply going to be out of the workforce for any period of time. A lot of women can work remotely after they have a child and a lot of women do come back very shortly after maternity leave. I think companies have to consider that they’re going to have to cope with a temporary absence in order to get that female into the room. 

Women bring an entirely different perspective to a leadership team than men do. I’m the only female on my leadership team. I wish there was somebody else, but I’m the only female on the board and I’m the only female in the C-suite. I know that it’s created a much healthier dialogue between us because just as if all of the people in the room were females, we’d be missing an entirely different perspective that’s really important. Society still has to change a lot and I think the companies have to be much more supportive of both parents and what they need to do when they have children. Particularly in the United States, it’s still very much the case that females are primarily taking care of the family. And so that’s a societal shift that still needs to happen.


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