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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Flexi-staffing becomes a boon for women on career breaks

Himani Chandna Gurtoo , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 23, 2014
First Published: 23:36 IST(23/3/2014) | Last Updated: 23:39 IST(23/3/2014)

Taken a long break from work and now looking to get back on the job but finding it difficult? Flexible staffing may be your answer.

Flexi jobs give you a chance to work for major employer brands on short-duration projects that yield experience. They also help when you want to make a lifestyle choice to bring up a baby.

Garima Khamesra, 34 (see box) took a seven-year hiatus from loan provider CitiFinancial  India in Jaipur to bring up a child but found it a struggle to get back into a career despite her past achievements. But she found a way out when she joined the prestigeous Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, as a research associate on a six-month contract.

“Soon I realised the attractive options in flexible employment segments, which actually gave me the opportunity to hone my skills,” said Khamesra.

The Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) says many women who took a break to spend more time at home are back looking for jobs as the current slowdown and high inflation pinch family budgets. This is especially true of the metros, where about 41% of women are getting back with flexible working options compared to 16-22% in smaller cities.

“Flexi jobs may not help in earning what a woman was earning before but she would become highly employable in six months,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, president, ISF. 

The salary begins upwards of Rs. 20,000 a month and can go up depending on the job profile.

The specific job segments that are flexi-friendly include software application development, content curation and online teaching.

“Flexi jobs are no more about cheap data-entry skills. It’s much more evolved and skill oriented,” said Sairee Chahal, founder, Sheroes, an organisation that works with over 1,000 companies to shape a culture to help women build careers.

“We have designed a programme specifically for stay-at-home women between the age group of 20-45,” said Deep Kalra, founder, MakeMyTrip.com, one of the 700 firms Chahal works with.

Multinationals are also joining the culture. Flexi-staffing helps them hire skilled, experienced staff at cost-effective budgets.

Some companies like Hindustan Unilever offer career breaks of up to five years to help objectives such as child rearing, studies or following a spouse who shifts location. It also offers a part-time work policy that supports job splits and job sharing.

“We have introduced policies to make our employees meet professional and personal requirements at their convenience and without any compromise,” a HUL spokesperson said.

“Consideration is given to women in case of any special need pre- and post-delivery,” said V Krishnan, executive vice president (HR), at Dabur India, which offers its employees extra time off after a 90-day maternity leave.

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