Women are taking control of their own destiny
Many thought leaders make observations that we are seeing a shift away from the traditional career path to a freelance model. Largely recognised in the US it is only starting to emerge in the UK. It has been commonplace for creatives and developers to adopt this model in the UK, but now I am seeing professions previously tied to PAYE emerging with a freelance model of their own.
Those who study Gen Y will profess that this is down to the emerging generation that expect their lifestyle to take precedence (see Filip Matous speak on the subject if you’re interested). I think this is a large factor, but I believe that there is an additional force at play… women.
Let’s take my blue-chip marketing world as an example. In marketing you are either ‘client-side’ where you are managing the brand (that was me); or ‘agency-side’ where you work with the client to create their marketing campaigns. The agencies have a great model where some staff are on the books, but many are brought in as freelance – making for a very flexible working life if you want it that way. In contrast, client-side marketer roles have no room for freelance. Career progression in these big corporations rests on following the traditional path – and full time. Full time is the contentious addition. When women choose to start a family, they either come back full time, or go part time to the detriment of their career progression. I have no doubt there are examples of me being wrong here – but I would like to say this is the case for the vast majority, but I believe women are rebelling.
More and more women are refusing to compromise, and making their own destiny. A huge number of the women that I work with or meet in my business are from those big corporate backgrounds, and have chosen a different path. They are reassessing their skills and passions, and finding alternative routes, often by setting up their own businesses or going freelance. Julia Boddy founder of Mrs Tinks handmade kid’s meals is a perfect example. She was in a senior management HR role. After having 3 children she has launched her own brand and does a bit of HR freelance on the side. The irony is she probably works more hours now – like most people running their own businesses – but it is on her own terms, and for something that she is truly passionate about. Julia remains an inspiration to me as I work with her to launch her meals into the grocery market, and I feel like I am seeing ambitious women doing the same as her all over the UK.
I hope that the revolution continues, and if any senior client-side marketers are searching for a more flexible work structure get in contact – you can work with amazing brands and have flexibility at The Nurture Network.