The all female super league: flexible working for female professionals

At All Star Reserves we champion women in business and are passionate about creating flexible working opportunities that benefit both the freelance women in our network and our clients. We believe there’s a huge loss of female talent in the professional services industry due to outdated ways of working and see remote working and agile structure as an opportunity to swing the balance in our favour. Our clients get access to top tier talent as and when they need it, at affordable prices due to low overheads from our network of freelance women who predominantly work from home.

Gender equality in the workplace continues to be a hot topic with women still underrepresented at board level and the gender pay gap continuing to exist despite legislation being in place since 1970. The good news is we’re seeing a huge increase in the importance put on women in the workplace with studies showing links between more balanced gender distribution in a company’s management and its profitability. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman carried out a global survey of 7,280 leaders across a range of organisations. Writing in Harvard Business Review they proved that women outperformed men in 12 of the 16 competences that go hand in hand with outstanding leadership, most significantly taking initiative and driving for results. Perhaps slightly skewed by the required additional efforts for women to get into these leadership roles. However, outside of leadership and without wanting to make sweeping generalisations about women in business, many studies have shown women often possess more empathy and intuition. They therefore tend to be better at building open and genuine relationships with others. Dr Lynda Gratton, London Business School, added woman, and in particular mothers, bring with them a different set of values and critical fresh perspective on business situations, something exemplified by the work done by the hotshot women in our network.

That said, women who choose to have children are still being faced with challenges when returning to the workplace. The reality of inflexible employers mean women are more likely to work part-time or switch to low paid jobs in order to balance childcare and spending time with their family (The Fawcett Society). Many talented female professionals make the difficult choice to give up or change their career when they have children which seems like such a waste of years of hard work and commitment to the career path they chose. “Too many Mums end up taking jobs where they are under utilized and underpaid, but have to do several years graft before they can get recruiters to begin to take them seriously again” Gavin Russell, Go to Market leader in the technology industry.

The good news is there are alternatives. Some women are using it as a motivation to reapply their skills and start their own business in which they work from home. Gemma Whates founder of ALL by MAMA found it almost impossible to get the flexibility she needed to work around her young children in the marketing industry and used this as a motivation to help other parents in running their own small businesses. There are organisations like Beyond the School Run who are helping parents find work around their childcare commitments. And there’s organisations like ours who are connecting freelance women who predominantly work from home with businesses who need their help. Our freelance consultants help our clients with new business development, general consultancy as well as ambassador marketing whilst also providing a layer of service and support through the network itself. According to a report by IPSE and Kingston University the total number of mothers working in highly skilled freelance occupations has almost doubled since 2008, amounting to an increase of 96 per cent vs a 46% increase generally in freelance workers. Working remotely gives our consultants a better work-life balance whilst utilising the talent and industry knowledge they already have. This is echoed by Forbes who agree that remote work is the key to changing the workplace for the better.

The economy is trending towards using more freelance, exemplified by the explosion of the gig economy. Flexible working allows companies to hire in the skills they need as and when they need them without the financial commitment of a full time employee or the fees associated with employing an agency. When a lot of the women in our network left their full time jobs to have children there weren’t as many opportunities for flexible working or freelance careers. Additionally as all our consultants predominantly work from home, overheads are reduced which is a cost saving we pass on to our clients.

The benefit of being part of a network like All Star Reserves as a freelance woman means you get the support and access to the knowledge of other women in the network. You also get the social benefits of feeling like part of a team even if not working in a traditional office. We work hard to partner our clients with consultants who have relevant experience for the task at hand so our clients can focus on running their business and our consultants can focus on delivering results.

We believe there’s another way of working which harnesses the decentralisation of traditional workplace structures, and turns the challenge of work life balance for female professionals into an opportunity for both our clients and freelance women in our network.

Find out more about All Star Reserves or contact us if you’re interested in working together.

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