Despite a long history of the modern human working a standard 9-to-5 job, there’s currently a wave of revolt. Today’s millennials are seduced by workplace flexibility and, in fact, will forego a pretty penny for it: this report suggests that 45 per cent of millennials would rather have more relaxed working hours than a higher salary.
This move towards more flexible employment options was one of the main reasons Sydney-based Sarah Wyse decided to found a startup to suit the demand.
“With the growth in popularity of contract work, it seemed like the perfect time to challenge these norms and help evolve the gig economy away from low-skilled jobs to a vehicle for driving increased participation of senior women in the workplace,” Sarah explains of her platform Wyse Women, a members-only network that helps top talent find flexible work opportunities.
“The next immediate step was to ask other women if I was crazy and get a sense for the size of the demand, and so I took to Google surveys and devised a 28-question survey and sent it to 22 professional women. Three days later, I logged in to find that 372 women filled in the survey. The answer was clear – this was a service that many women wanted and needed to create a balanced, happy and satisfying work life.”
The platform was also particularly pertinent to Sarah following the birth of her first child, Sebastian, when she was both keen to return to work, but happy in her role as a mother.
“For me, I didn’t feel ready to return to my full-time job as the MD of a leading ad-tech business – I was loving my short time off with my son,” she explains. “But Wyse Women is not a forum just for mums. I was meeting women in various circumstances who were all highly skilled, well-respected and experienced, but were finding that the traditional 9-to-5 model no longer fitted into their changing lives.”
Indeed, Wyse Women’s member list also includes men, and the self-funded startup’s project list includes jobs from companies as prominent as Val Morgan, Mamamia and Allure Media.
Sarah runs Wyse Women alongside her position as chief revenue officer at Allure Media and has clearly put her keen business acumen to good use, basing the initial principle of her startup on proven success models, and further extending the application of it for a new, disruptive model.
“Wyse Women has borrowed some of the key attributes of the gig economy, namely flexibility, skills-based work, an outcomes-driven focus, diversity and project work. However, we have applied these concepts to a senior and experienced workforce, where businesses pay a premium for such a highly curated and skilled network. Most businesses we have spoken to are super keen to tap into this community as businesses often struggle with the ‘talent gap’ in the market and therefore very accommodating in their practices and structure to get these women onboard as they can offer such value to a business.”
While there have been a number of prominent businesses who are in sync with the Wyse Women philosophy, there are still a few that can’t be convinced. That fact, however, doesn’t bother Sarah.
“There have been a couple of companies who are very traditional in their thinking when it comes to hiring and we don’t work with these companies,” Sarah admits.
Indeed, Sarah and her company know that any brand that decides to work with them will only feed into the inspiring nature of the overriding business purpose.
“Wyse Women is a brand that empowers women,” Sarah explains. “Our needs are evolving and are different, especially with most women being the primary care-giver of children. The current recruitment model is outdated, very much geared up to company needs and not the employee, and is rigid. We want to create a service that both companies and women can use to focus on sharing knowledge and delivering outcomes on a flexible basis.”