INK Fellow Neha Bagaria is a flag holder for women wanting to restart their careers after long breaks due to marriage, motherhood or elderly care. In 2015, she founded JobsForHer, an online portal which supports exactly that. Since then, she and her team have been advancing in leaps and bounds, creating more and more job opportunities, partnerships and collaborations for women everywhere!
Read on to learn about her various pursuits for the cause and her experiences at INK.
1. You recently spoke at the INK Conference for the first time. How was the INK experience?
I loved the opportunity of speaking at the INK conference. I enjoyed the connect with the attendees and other speakers as well. It gave me the chance to strengthen relationships with partners and influencers, face to face. JobsForHer’s reputation as a thought-leader in getting women back to work has definitely grown!
Watch Neha’s talk here: A talent pool that cannot be ignored
2. Did you meet anyone during the conference who particularly inspired you?
So many… especially the other INK fellows like Kalyani Khona who is running Inclov for the disabled, Akshay Nanavati who is helping people leverage their fears through Fearvana and Ere Gowda who overcame all odds to become an international award-winning script writer.
3. What motivated you to start JobsforHer? Tell us your personal connect to it.
I took a 3.6-year break in my own career when I had my children. During this personal journey, I became aware of the various difficulties a woman faces in order to re-enter the workforce. This also opened my eyes to the accomplished and qualified women around me who stopped working for personal reasons such as marriage, motherhood or elderly care, and then never returned to the workforce. I started delving into the reasons behind this female brain drain and it became clear that there are many re-entry challenges that need to be addressed in India. These range from requiring flexibility, regaining confidence, retraining, overcoming biases and changing mindsets. It made me determined to enable other women to restart their careers and connect them with whatever they require to do so. And so I founded JobsForHer on International Women’s Day, March 2015.
4. Tell us about your upcoming conference Restarther. From speaking at a conference to organising one, how is the journey?
JobsForHer is bringing women restarters the biggest conference and career fair for women returnees on September 16th, 2017, in Bangalore, called RestartHer. Besides networking opportunities, there will be a host of panel discussions with industry mentors, speed mentoring sessions, and masterclass breakout sessions with reskilling experts as well. The career fair will include key human resources and talent acquisition reps from companies that will be hiring women on a break.
Speaking at so many conferences and then organizing one, has indeed been a journey. I truly enjoyed speaking and listening to other leaders from various backgrounds who have navigated through many of the same challenges like myself. I realised how powerful it is to absorb and learn from others’ experience. And thus decided that it was important to bring this experience to women who want to restart their careers.
5. What is on the drawing board for JobsForHer in the next few years?
Over the next few years, JobsForHer is committed to doing everything necessary to enable women to restart their careers; from finding suitable job opportunities, to re-skilling and leveraging community. Our current expansion plans involve escalating our reach to create a larger impact, scaling up the opportunities provided on the portal as well as helping women in bridging the gaps through career-related services such as mentorship, resume-writing assistance, second career counseling, confidence building workshops, skills upgradation, networking opportunities, etc
6. The theme of our upcoming INK2017 is ‘Slingshot’, a mindset which can propel our legacy systems to greater altitudes of innovation and modernity. What is your take on it, keeping in mind the job scene in India?
‘Slingshot’ is indeed apt as our workplaces are becoming increasingly dynamic, propelling an unprecedented leverage of technology, leading to a change in all aspects of the workforce today. Companies are currently seeking multi-skilled and multi-talented resources, instead of focusing on just one particular skill.
We are witnessing a gradual shift towards hiring women returnees who possess transferable skills. These new requirement patterns will change the hiring scene for women returning to work, to a great extent over the next few years. Women too can dive deeper into their past strengths and ‘slingshot’ those to create their future success stories.
Follow Neha and JobsForHer on their website. Maybe you can help someone get back into the job field as well!