After two years on non-stop maternity leave I’m not scared to admit that sometimes I miss the corporate world. I would love an exciting and challenging job again. Before I had my beautiful babies, I worked in some large corporations at home in Denmark and here in Dubai – and I would go so far as saying I have pretty good experience within my field and that I am very competent doing what I love to do which is procurement!!
So why do I not start working?
The kids are old enough now for nursery…
My husband would appreciate me contributing to the household to the continuously increasing cost of living in Dubai…
I dream about making my own money again and buying some new clothes without feeling bad…
I also sometimes see available and suited positions matching my competences…
I have the interest and desire to work…
…But like many other mums in Dubai it just doesn’t work!
The standard office hours in Dubai is 9am to 6 pm – 5 days a week!! Not easy when the nursery closes at 2 pm and the kids go to sleep at 7 pm. I’m happy to do fulltime but 6 pm does not work for me anymore. I would never see my babies. When I speak to recruiters or companies and say I need ‘flex-time’ Its like saying a swear word and I don’t hear from them again.
I forwarded my CV to Hopscotch a new recruitment company focusing on woman and mums – but many women in Dubai share my concerns so I was cheeky enough to ask Helen McGuire, Co-Founder & MD of Hopscotch, if there is still any hope for me and other mums in the Dubai corporate world?!
What is Hopscotch and what can you offer mums in Dubai?
Hopscotch is a support platform that helps women and businesses in our region make flexible work a reality. We were the first to launch here and we’re not just about finding women jobs to fit around their commitments, but also helping them get to that point. We’ve just begun our Workshops series to do just that and offer a one to one coaching service to help women with confidence, CV writing, interview skills and much more, which they can find out more about by emailing email@example.com.
Why the name Hopscotch?
Hopscotch is a kid’s game that involves hopping about on a grid to land on the correct square. We loved how the visual of this tied in with what women do on daily basis to balance everything, but also the concept of flexible work and how that means different things to different people and is ever changing depending on circumstances.
Why was it necessary to create a recruitment company focusing on women/mums?
There was nothing like this out there. We knew from our research and my personal experiences, both within an agency and as a mum, that flexible work was absolutely key to getting women back to work and filling gaps in so many industries in our region. In fact, 60% of companies we surveyed needed flexible workers at least monthly and 76% of women surveyed cited a lack of flexible options as their main reason for not being able to work. It was time to fix the problem!
Does this mean that companies in the UAE are ready to offer part-time and flex hours jobs?
The response from companies has been astounding. There are those who already offer flexible work, but had nowhere to officially look for those able to undertake it. And then there are those who are changing their entire perspective on it because it is now being made possible. We have jobs across the board, from Healthcare to HR, PR to Retail and Legal to Creative and we’re growing all the time.
How many job opportunities and candidates do you have at the moment?
We have had thousands of women register through our site and our live jobs change all the time as new ones drop in and we fill current roles. We work with some huge organisations that have a requirement for many types of roles, some of which can be men or women, so we work very hard to make sure our ladies fill as many of those opportunities as possible!
The competition is strong in Dubai. I haven’t worked for two years is there still a hope for me?
Of course! We have just started our Skills Workshops, designed to help all women gain confidence in key areas they may need support – that could be anything from CV writing to Interview Skills – and we have lots of other initiatives in the pipeline so keep an eye on http://www.hopscotch.ae.
I’m dreaming about a role in procurement, are there certain industries you feel are more ready to offer part-time / flex hours than others?
That’s not been our experience so far, it’s more down to the company’s attitude than the industry. For example, a Business Development role could be done by one person full-time or two women in a job share capacity. It is our job to not only support women but encourage businesses in this region to start offering flexible work and finding them the best candidates from a previously untapped talent pool.
What’s your best advice to me as a mum who wants to start working again after having a long period at home?
Figure out what it is you now want to do. Perhaps your previous career isn’t for you any more and you want to make a change. If so, do some research into what that new path might involve and re-arrange your CV to make it as appealing as possible for that role. Don’t forget, you’ll have learned a lot since having kids too, so don’t underestimate your skills! And of course, register at hopscotch.ae so we can help you through our Workshops, one to one coaching, advice and putting you forward for the right jobs.
What are the 3 best arguments I can give a company for hiring me as a mum?
1. Your incredible juggling and time management skills
2. Your drive to use your previous experience to benefit your family and yourself
3. Your focus to get the job done well and on time so you can balance work and family
Do you think this could be the start for longer maternity leave as well?
We plan that as we grow and garner more support from business and women alike that we can begin to tackle just these kinds of issues on behalf of families, so watch this space!
Anything else you would like to share with us job-hunting mums?
Don’t be daunted! All you can do as a mum is give it a go – get your CV over to us and let’s see where it leads! Companies want to hire you and there is a real desire by so many to support women and fill gaps in their workforce, but we can’t help you if you don’t take the first step and get in touch by registering at hopscotch.ae.
Please tell me a bit about yourself…
We moved to Dubai in 2012 direct from London, where I’d lived and worked in music broadcast, digital communications and media since 2001. My husband owns a global recruitment group here, MCG, and since moving we’ve gotten married, bought an English Bulldog (Percy, now 3 years old), had our first daughter (Clementine, now 18months) and have another baby due this summer! Before launching Hopscotch, I ran the Digital Content arm of Impact BBDO in Dubai and occasionally DJ’d in my spare time.