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Thursday, July 07, 2022

This Pune-based startup is trying to increase number of women techies in the workplace

With the pandemic forcing many women out of the workforce, SheWork.in says companies have to be more flexible if they want to retain women employees

Written by Dipanita Nath | Pune |
Updated: June 8, 2022 3:43:11 am

At the office of SheWork.in, a startup that staffs tech companies with skilled women professionals, founders Pooja Bangad and Tejas Kulkarni study the present market conditions with concern. “We have observed that a lot of women have left their jobs due to various reasons in the post-pandemic scenario. According to a recent LinkedIn report, seven in 10 working women in India quit or consider quitting their jobs due to a lack of flexibility at work. We feel that, to stop women from quitting, companies have to focus on the flexibility part. More remote jobs will motivate women to not quit jobs just because they are getting married, have to relocate, or have kids or elderly parents to care for,” says Kulkarni.

SheWork.in, started in 2019, is driven by the purpose of building diversity and inclusion in the workspace, in order to enable more women to come back to work after marriage, maternity break or a layoff. A community-driven platform, it enables women who have more than three years’ experience in tech to register, upload their CVs and engage with a support staff member on skills, requirements and challenges. This allows for a balance between talent and customer requirements.

SheWork.in has been growing steadily and aggressively, and touched more than half a million dollars in revenue in 2021-2022 with 30 per cent year-on year growth. There is no registration fee but a platform fee is charged to a company when it hires talent from the platform. As an indicator of global trends, SheWork.in has witnessed an increase in demand from other countries, with so many registrations coming in that they are planning to expand overseas.

The presence of women in the workplace has become a topic of concern across the world since the pandemic set in. According to a report, titled ‘The Pandemic’s Impact on Women in Tech’, the US-based Women Tech Council had emphasised that “what started as the pandemic has become the first female recession. In addition to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic itself, women are dealing with mass lay-offs, ever-fluctuating school conditions, virtual learning, economic woes, remote work and all of the increased stress and family needs that has ultimately delayed career progress and forced many women out of the workforce.”

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There are more than 25,000 women on SheWork.in and more than 250 companies from across India. “We offer flexible plans, such as Startup Plans, Long-Term Plans and Buyout Plans, which ensure that talent and companies can be suitably matched, and we can deploy a resource immediately—the very next day—to a company,” says Kulkarni.

Bangad adds that they work closely with businesses to improve their diversity quotient, and have found that MNCs are among the biggest contributors to diversity in India “because they have a mandate and have opened verticals in order to participate in women’s empowerment and diversity. These companies usually look to hire certain kinds of people to fulfil their diversity goals”.

“Smaller companies are struggling because the market is very volatile when it comes to processes such as training. We are trying to educate them on how to train, why they should invest in women or give chances to women,” she says. All too often, SheWork.in finds itself trying to convince companies who feel that women make for unreliable hires as they will resign after marriage or go on maternity leave.

The pandemic has also impacted how SheWorks.in works. Coming up, for instance, is a smartphone-based app and plans to deploy technology more widely in order to attract a younger generation of entrepreneurs and women professionals looking for jobs. “Companies are removing a lot of people from their organisation, which makes it important for us to upgrade our processes to streamline hiring processes and make the workplaces more diverse and inclusive,” says Bangad.

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