“Is this all that’s left for me now?”, “Is this my career from now on? ”.. “Were all those years of work or study wasted? “- Have you ever said this to yourself?
I have, several times..
Having worked since I was 16, I have always felt a need to earn my way and do something that interests me, keeps me busy and uses the skills acquired along the way. I’ve had a 30+ year career in the oil & gas service sector. My last fully employed role was with an underwater technology company where I worked for 16 years starting as a Sales Co-ordinator and working my up to Financial Director. I have an HNC Business Administration, Graduate Certificate in Management and I recently completed an MBA.
However, one of my biggest challenges by far has been finding work that uses my skills and also enables me to function outside of the workplace. Dare I say the words “PART TIME” or, in my case a 30 hour week!
After having children, too often, women struggle to return to work at a skill level which matches their ‘Before family’ career.
I know this because as a friend, parent and colleague I’ve met too many people over the years who have been faced with this situation and had to make a choice.
The key here is choice. I was lucky to begin with and returned to a promotion and a 4-day week. However, the reality is that after around 10 years with that company I started to hear alarm bells and felt the need to move on. I looked around for something else, but doors kept slamming in my face whenever I mentioned 30 hours. The industry at that time was buoyant, I thought someone would surely be able to use me. I had many ‘Who do you think you are?’ moments and gave up looking. I stayed another 6 years with the same company when I really should have moved on. I reached the point where I could not carry on working in the environment, I found myself in and left in 2015 just as the industry hit the downturn.
It was a difficult time to find work and so I set up a company as a consultant/freelancer and went out networking. I was completely out of my comfort zone and found it really challenging but eventually found that there were indeed some businesses out there who needed people like me and not full time!
That was the proof I needed that there was actually a requirement in the industry for skilled people to work on a flexible/part-time/interim/freelance basis and the concept of Agile Resource was born.
I joined Elevators’ “Grey Matters” programme in November 2018 and pitched the idea for Agile Resources. During Grey Matters, it dawned on me that there are a significant number of very experienced, ex Oil & Gas Industry people who are available in the local area right now. Their knowledge and skills could be a huge boost to any businesses that might not have the budget or workload to use them on a full-time basis. What if we could connect those people to businesses with a need?
The OPITO “Workforce Dynamics” report 2019, highlighted a skills gap with demand for the future in Tech/Data, Business & Innovation, Leadership and Interpersonal skills. I truly believe that the Agile Resource target demographic for candidates has high potential to fill some of these gaps or upskill to meet the needs IF the correct work patterns are made available to them. That means businesses opening up to the possibility of people working flexibly, part-time, remotely or with condensed hours.
I can honestly say that after 16 years in a management role doing a 30-hour week, I am certain I was more productive than in any of my previous roles where I did 40.
The concept of Agile Resource is simple. We are a searchable talent platform which encourages experienced people including those, who need or want, to work on reduced hours, flexible, freelance, consulting or interim basis to create a profile.
We enable businesses to search our talent pool for specific skillsets enabling them to quickly draw up a credible shortlist of candidates.
According to the CIPD, 82% of people want to work flexibly and this rises to 92% when we look at millennials. Looking at ways to include flexible work patterns within your organisation may at first seem quite a daunting task, I have been there. However, in the long term I truly believe that the benefits, such as a more motivated, driven and focused workforce can far outweigh the negatives.
As an industry we have a stated need to increase diversity, have more women in leadership positions, reduce gender pay gap, plug the skills gap and stop the skills drain, all of which can be helped by introducing flexible work patterns. We all know this!
Our platform is still under development, but I am really looking forward to getting it started very soon!
If you are a candidate who would like to work this way or a business who may be interested in helping us with research or testing please get in touch. We need your feedback. firstname.lastname@example.org