3 years ago I founded MummyJobs.co.uk. I felt it was unfair that women in their 30’s, who had spent years building their career before choosing to have kids, were penalised when trying to return to work with a little flexibility.
Strangely, I received the best support, flexibility and promotions from my employer when my first child was born. She was born with a medical condition. This meant spending most of her first 15 months on this planet in a full body cast and having multiple surgeries to fix her hips. Yet when we chose to have our second child (by which point both children were healthy) my employer didn’t want to know, or accept any flexible working requests.
The reason? Setting a precedence in a 95% female workplace – which I didn’t do when my child was sick.
So here I was, 35 years old and put on a shelf.
My seniority and time served was a curse when applying for flexible, non-management positions. When I tried to search for flexibility as a keyword on job boards or social channels, I was bombarded with adverts for Multi Level Marketing Schemes!
Where Were All The Flexible Jobs?
I had worked in recruitment as both a consultant and media sales for over 16 years. I knew flexibility existed, but finding them ‘on purpose’ was becoming more of a challenge than I felt it should be.
I chatted with my other half about the opportunity that was forming in my mind. A life changing concept about how we could help bring flexible working to the masses. To make this idea a reality we could just about manage with his job and the last couple months left on my mat leave ‘benefits’. So we decided to take the plunge. A short couple of months later my dream of ‘Mummyjobs.co.uk’ came to life.
A few weeks later Daddyjobs.co.uk arrived as ‘him indoors’ had taken advantage of 8 months parental leave. He felt that more dads would want to take it, in this lengthy societal journey to gender parity. It seems we were not alone in our struggles to find flexible work. Not long after setting up, we went viral and the world of flexible working changed for me forever.
1.27 Million people got in touch with us over a 10 day period. They asked if they could apply for the jobs on our site, even if they weren’t parents! OF COURSE we shouted! I had mum’s ringing me crying from supermarkets. They were relating to my posts about MLM’s, the devaluation of women, the need for flex to be offered as standard and shouting YES, YES, YES right along with me!
It was clear, a stall had been set out. Flexible working had to happen in the UK and not just for mums.
Flexible working needs to become commonplace and available for anyone who wants it. The context for FindYourFlex.co.uk, #FlexAppeal & #FlexForAll were springing to life. A band of flexible working warriors were and still are grouping together to get employers and government to recognise flexible working as a viable and essential, working way of life.
Challenging Times Force Change
But some were already prepared. Over the course of the last 3 turbulent years, we have worked tirelessly with over 300 employers. All of whom have agreed that flexible working is both a benefit to their employees and to their businesses. Thus making them more dynamic and more prepared to weather the storms of climate change, Brexit & Covid-19 along with anything else our future has in store.
So What About The Future Of Flexible Working?
There are many low birth years coming down the pike. This could lead to enforced retraining, to fill skills gaps left by a reduced ‘young’ career force. Midlife career changers will become the norm. As the age of first time parents also climbs to the early thirties, we are going to see these career changers looking for flex to balance their home life with work life.
Midlife apprenticeships are already one of the most sought after opportunities across our flex platform and the returnship programmes we carry are finally offering more than a ‘full time’ programme. Businesses are finally understanding that LIFE for many is just as important as WORK.
The Future Of Work for many is already here. And my amazing team and I are here to make sure employers are ready for the future of work and learn to flex.
Happy Flex Work Searching!
CEO / Founder the find your flex group
“Flexible working needs to become commonplace and available for anyone who wants it”