Jobs and Careers in Communications & Information Technology - News Information & Advice

News Story:

Opportunities for women


Faced with the ‘double whammy’ of the recession and rising childcare costs, record numbers of women are beginning new careers as freelancing ‘mumpreneurs’, according to new figures from PeoplePerHour.

With female unemployment now residing at a 25-year high, the number of women registering for work on Europe’s largest online business marketplace surged 38 percent in the six months to the end of March, compared with 22 percent for men.

"Women are already losing their jobs at a disproportionately higher rate than men – an imbalance that will become more severe as cuts in the public service continue,” said Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour.

"But an increasing number of working women are discovering that the rising cost of childcare – together with the stress and strain of juggling a career while simultaneously looking after their family – simply doesn’t make sense.

"Women are quickly moving with the times – they’ve discovered the jobs market is changing and that small businesses are looking for flexible, remote and skilled freelancers. This growing army of ‘mumpreneurs’ is taking advantage of technology faster than any other group.”

PeoplePerHour have a large database of case studies to illustrate the trend, including:

1) Lone mother of disabled child struggles to find quality care
With her disabled daughter requiring 24-hour-day care, Sarah uses PeoplePerHour to work from home in Newmains as a virtual assistant. Previously she found it impossible to secure a permanent job as suitable childcare for her daughter was unaffordable. "The Government should provide free nurseries for working families including places that specialise in children with physical needs. I would never have raised these issues when I was at work, pre-children, but there is a severe lack of care for babies with disabilities and due to the cost of it all, it makes it impossible for the mum to get back to work.”

2) Sky-high rates and competition of childcare in London
Creative writer Mikki has found working for herself substantially easier after leaving London and moving back to Scotland. "Living in London, I found the childcare system was so competitive and expensive that after paying for that and for my travel expenses I had spent my entire salary. High quality childcare is so important yet so hard to find if you’re on a budget.”

3) Cost of childcare means she can't afford to work
Mother of two Sarah has been unable to find a permanent job after being made redundant last year. While Sarah has successfully used PeoplePerHour to help bolster her family’s finances, she would prefer the security of having a full-time job. Her frustration has also been compounded by the high cost of childcare in London, which restricts her to working as a copywriter during holidays when her husband can look after their children.

4) Teenage mum beats the odds
After the birth of her second child at the age of only 16, Sarah realised the cost of childcare alone made it highly unlikely she’d ever be able work for someone else. Keen to avoid a life on the dole, Sarah finished her university degree last year and now runs her own fledgling marketing company. The 22-year-old continues to juggle her career with parenting – and is a passionate advocate for the need for the government to offer mumpreneurs additional help, especially in the field of childcare.

5) Expensive childcare meant my kids had to leave school before starting my business
Mother of four Jan runs her business offering first aid training courses from her home in Leeds – but the high cost of child care meant she had to wait until they were older until she could unless the mumpreneur inside her. Her son Joe – now 20 years old – suffers from Cerebral Palsy, meaning she’s always had trouble finding appropriate and affordable childcare.
"I would have loved to let my children go to an after school club or group but there were no places at all that could cater for disabled children. This meant that we felt excluded and again I would have to leave work and alter my hours to get around the problem. I needed the flexible hours that working for myself provides in order to look after my son and grow my business".

6) From redundancy to freelancer to factory owner in 12 months
After being made redundant last year, mother of four Lisa began working as a freelance pattern maker / designer from her home in Dunfermline. Within a few months she won large contracts for a well-known wedding dress designer and now has her own factory with six employees – recently she was asked to make costumes for Channel 4's ‘Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’. "Getting made redundant wasn’t much fun – it’s hard to believe that this time last year I was jobless and resorting to pattern cutting on my kitchen table. But being able to bid for work online has been the key to growing my business.”

7) Life-scare of son changed her priorities  
After the premature birth of her son in 2006, Margaret realised she needed a lifestyle change as she wanted to spend more time with her child and less at the office. She now has her own social media / virtual assistant company, works from her home in Glasgow and arranges monthly meetings for a group of fellow mumpreneurs. "PeoplePerHour allowed me to get a footing, to take on clients and build seed money so that I could grow my businesses. I now work for clients like Nokia and Microsoft, while still spending time with my son”.

8) Quits high-powered job to freelance and be with children
After quitting her high-powered job to spend more time with her two children, Rachel quickly discovered the financial realities of being a full-time mum. She set up a home-based business through PeoplePerHour offering administration services to local companies in Reigate, allowing her to both generate an income and enjoy family life.

9) Work-life balance improved since going digital
Verwood-based Sarah Gifford left her full-time role as a brand manager to spend more time with her children. PeoplePerHour now allows her to use her 15 years of skills and experience to build her own marketing business while simultaneously providing her with a satisfying work-life balance. "Giving up my full-time role was the best decision I have ever made – I’ve now built up a successful online business and I get to be with my family”.