Start-up FlexCareers, a fast-growing network connecting career mums with progressive employers offering flexible work, has formally launched out of beta, recently announcing its commercial launch.
Following a soft launch six months ago, the FlexCareers community has grown to over 10,000 and job listings from companies such as Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Macquarie, Metcash, UBS, HSBC American Express, PwC, KPMG and GoCatch have doubled month over month.
Women in flexible roles have been identified as the most efficient yet under-utilised workforce in Australia. Many are mums unable to go back to work because of the difficulty in keeping traditional work hours or fear that too much time has passed.
Career mums on leave often strengthen skills such as multi-tasking, consensus building, time management and organisation that are highly sought after by corporations.
Yet employers struggle to find and attract this historically disconnected community whilst at the same time, they are under fire to improve gender diversity in the workplace.
FlexCareers online talent matching platform exclusively focuses on flexible employment solutions — such as part time, flextime, job sharing and work from home — to break down barriers for mums who wish to return to work.
This launch includes the next version of the company’s platform and talent matching system FlexMatch that significantly improves the FlexCareers experience for both job seekers and employers.
There is great appetite for a solution
When market testing the concept, founders Joel McInnes and Marko Njavro were encouraged by the overwhelming response of the FlexCareers community. Shortly after, the former investment bankers received $250,000 to grow FlexCareers to a viable offer.
“LinkedIn has been great for the recruitment industry at large, but it’s time for another wave of disruption that offers tailored solutions to meet the needs of the country’s evolving workforce,” said McInnes.
“There are millions of talented women who want to realise their career goals without having to sacrifice their family commitments. We created FlexCareers with them in mind – to level the playing field, close the gender gap and advance women in the workforce.”
Newly appointed CEO of FlexCareers, Nikki Hobin added: “There’s not only a business need but a social mandate to change the way careers work for people, particularly women.”
“We are passionate about evolving our culture of work and building sustainable working relationships between corporations that prioritise diversity and people seeking fulfilling careers at any stage of life.”
Mums welcome the help
The FlexCareers community enables career mums connect to each other, to good employers and to great opportunities.
FlexCareers provides support services including a fully integrated suite of training and re-accreditation courses for skills enhancement, resume writing and interview coaching.
FlexCareers is also the first company to offer “Relaunchships” designed specifically for mothers returning to work after maternity leave.
Through a series of workshops that sets both the flexible worker and the employer up for sustained success, participants walk away with tips, tools and strategies to help build confidence, navigate the environment, communicate effectively and plan for the future.
For many, FlexCareers could not come at a better time
Anne-Marie Zukerman, a community member with over 10 years’ experience in marketing, and now Head of Marketing at Solar D Sunscreen shared her experience, “As a busy mother of three it seemed unlikely that I could find a fulfilling marketing job while still being a constant for my family.”
“Solar D has been very accommodating and are very flexible if I need to change days or hours due to family commitments. Resuming my career while looking after my family has been drama free thanks to FlexCareers.”
Community member Amy Brown who is the Director, Infrastructure and Structured Finance at NSW Treasury, had this to say, “I’m a female senior executive with two small children and it’s been a mission to find a role where I can use my skills and expertise and be challenged and passionate, whilst also one that works for my family.”
“When I returned to work after my first maternity leave, I was shocked at my employer’s lack of focus on output and how allowing me to work flexibly was too much of a quantum leap.
“If only FlexCareers had been around! Since then, I’ve found a boss who focuses on outputs and realises that, despite having home responsibilities, I’m a talented and capable individual and it’s worth a bit of trial and error in terms of giving me the flexibility that I need to keep me on board. When it comes time to make another move, I’ll be engaging FlexCareers to help streamline this process for me!”
The gender diversity imperative
The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 heralded a new era for Australia’s workforce. The government regulator aims to improve and promote equality for both women and men in the workplace.
Eager to be a driving force, FlexCareers partners with Australian employers to overcome the challenges of gender diversification: the representation of women steadily declines when moving up the management levels, with women comprising only 26.1 per cent of key management personnel positions, and 17.3 per cent of CEO positions.
One-third (33.5 per cent) of employers have no KMPs who are women, and 31.3 per cent of organisations have no ‘other executives / general managers’ who are women.
Only 13.6 per cent of employers have a strategy for flexible working and only 13.2 per cent of employers have a strategy to support employees with family or caring responsibilities.
Why career mums? Well, 43 per cent are degree qualified, less than half of all working mothers return to work full time, 300,000 will search for more flexible solutions this year and hey stay with their employers 12 months longer than other employees.