NR: Wyse Women doesn’t only function as a jobs site – what are some of the other products you offer?
SW: Beyond being a platform for senior level candidates, all of whom we meet individually to best understand and service their professional needs, we try to help businesses feel more empowered to post jobs and find talent. One of the things we often hear from companies is: “We can’t get women into senior roles because there aren’t that many women around.” There’s this idea of a talent shortage, and we wanted to disprove that by creating tools that allow a business to future plan their business pipeline with really great talent. We believe that flexibility equals diversity, which equals inclusion. If you can offer flexibility, you’re likely to get a far more diverse range of applications. We also have an advisory service, where we help businesses understand where they are in terms of unconscious bias and how to battle it. We offer training and support services to managers and leaders on how to manage a job share, a flexible workplace, and how to manage business outcomes based on these new models.
NR: Do you think the platform needs to be female-exclusive in order to be most beneficial?
SW: Actually, 10% of our members are men! We’re not excluding men, we just set out to try and solve a female problem. About 60-65% of our industry is female, but only about 20% of senior positions are occupied by women. What’s also interesting is that about 30% of our members don’t have children, but have other motivations for wanting to work more flexibly. One strong factor is that we have an aging population in Australia, and with that you find more women who want to continue working later into their years, but in a consultancy or advisory capacity rather than fulltime. We’re trying to solve problems for women with diverse backstories. It’s not just the parent piece.
NR: Has the recent boom of the freelance / gig economy helped you educate employers about the benefits of flexible work?
SW: The gig economy in Australia is not as developed as it is in the US or Europe. It’s quite difficult for a company to hire someone as a contractor here because there’s a law around superannuation, which is essentially the Australian pension system. If you’re a contractor, a company won’t contribute to your superannuation, and from the government’s perspective, they get antsy about that, because they don’t want to be spending money supporting people in their older years with government tax money. They want everyone to be self-sufficient, so they make it quite difficult for you to contract.