Part-time work for mums? Does it even exist in the UAE? We’ve all had a conversation when we’ve moaned about the struggle to find flexible working hours. It’s a particularly important issue for mothers in this part of the world, as positions that offer child-friendly hours are few and far between. Many mums are confronted with an all-or-nothing decision to either return to work full-time or give up on their careers altogether. Fortunately the tide is turning with the arrival of Hopscotch, a platform that matches up professional women and companies seeking flexible working options. A subsidiary of the recruiter MCG Group, the company was co-founded by husband and wife team, Helen and Justin McGuire, after they noticed a severe lack of part-time work opportunities in the UAE. As JustKidding has always been proactive in hiring mums for part-time roles, we decided to sit down with Helen to get the lowdown on what Hopscotch has to offer and how you can get involved.
What inspired you to set up Hopscotch?
I was on maternity leave last summer and decided to enroll on a photography course. During the class we were all asked to introduce ourselves and I was really surprised by how many of the attendees were mums who were doing it because they were at a loose end. Previously they’d all had careers, but since motherhood they hadn’t been able to go back to work because they couldn’t find flexible roles. That got me thinking about the lack of opportunities available to women in this region. The idea grew from there.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
We specilize in helping professional women find flexible working options, whether it be part-time work, a job share or freelance roles.
What sorts of roles are available?
It’s across the board. We have had interest from multinational companies like MasterCard right down to a lady who operates a human resources company and just needs someone at the front desk. The roles can be anything from a yearlong contract of 20 hours a week, to freelance roles that can be done from home. Check out our job board to see what’s on offer.
How does Hopscotch differ from other working platforms?
Many regular recruitment agencies have no interest in helping candidates develop their skills. We know through our research that lack of confidence or not having a well-written CV are massive barriers to women getting back into work after a career break. At Hopscotch we hold workshops in order to support women so that they don’t feel daunted at the prospect of returning to work.
What can we expect from your workshops?
We run classroom-sized gatherings where industry expects give talks on a variety of subjects. We cover everything from how to write a winning CV, to mastering interview techniques, and gaining career confidence. Click here to see what’s coming up.
What about if you’re on your husband’s visa – can you still apply for jobs?
A woman who wishes to work can do so on her on husband’s visa with an NOC from him and a Labour Card through the employer. There are also part-time visa and freelance visa options available.
What’s the first step to get involved?
It’s super simple. Just head to www.hopscotch.ae and register on the site. Once we have your application one of the team will be in touch directly. From there we can start matching you up with relevant jobs as soon as they come in.
And for those who still feel a bit scared about returning to work?
Firstly, you’re not alone. It is daunting. But value what you have done previously. Everyone has a history before they stepped out of the job market and that is a huge value to companies here, as well as the economy and society in general.
JustKidding will be teaming up with Hopscotch to arrange a variety of events aimed at mums who want to get into part-time work. If you would like to attend the first seminar, which is sponsored by JustKidding and takes place on May 16th at 9am, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.