Homemakers get call for first office job - Times of India

Homemakers get call for first office job – Times of India

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MUMBAI: After encouraging women who’ve taken a break to return to the workplace through second-career programmes, organisations are extending hiring to ‘first-career homemakers’ — those who got married to start families and have never worked before. Hiring homemakers who meet the requisite educational qualifications for an organisation is a trend that could accelerate at India Inc.
Axis Bank has proposed to hire homemakers across fields such as sales, HR, operations and branch banking. Axis Bank president & head (HR) Rajkamal Vempati believes time invested on self and family is often unrecognised and categorised as a ‘break’, both by recruiters and candidates alike. “Homemakers dedicate most of their life to activities like budgeting, housekeeping, learning and development (of children), sometimes this also includes salary and remuneration (of household staff). They are the pillars of diversity, equity and inclusion within the fundamental unit of a family.We need a paradigm shift in our mindsets to ensure that skills honed at home are seen as a valuable asset at the workplace,” said Vempati.

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An innovative resume sent by a homemaker nudged Axis Bank to rethink its hiring process. In order to make it inclusive, the programme is gender-neutral and there is no bar on age either.Titan Company too is looking for homemakers. Titan Company head (HR – corporate & retail) Priya Mathilakath said, “The advantages of Covid have opened up avenues for us like video-selling, to hire not only gig workers but also homemakers. We have started looking at roles that can be done by women, wherever they are based. Certain roles are agnostic of boundaries and can be done from anywhere, such as talent acquisition in HR.” For us, a homemaker shares a beautiful synergy with the business of jewellery where knowledge of different rituals and ceremonies is important. The business can benefit from that knowhow. And age is no bar.”
According to Avtar Group founder-president Saundarya Rajesh, the skills homemakers possess — be it participating in PTA meets to managing their building’s society work and other problem-solving abilities — are quite fungible and can be put to good use in various departments in customer-facing roles, warehouse-management positions as well as customer dispute handling.
However, this is not the first time homemakers are being hired by India Inc. “It was in 2006 when we conducted a programme for an MNC bank seeking to hire homemakers. This was an experiment in diversity hiring and we were keen on hiring from a gigantic pool of homemakers who have not worked before but are educated and possess crucial skills that can be put to good use by the organisation. Nearly 30% of the women we hired under this programme were first-time career-seeking homemakers. Subsequently, organisations in sectors like FMCG, retail and IT too went in for hiring first-career homemakers,” said Rajesh.
NSSO data shows that out of a total 160 million homemakers in India, 10-12 million are employable. Given that gender diversity ratios at India Inc continue to remain low, more organisations are introducing second-career programmes to help women make a comeback. L’Oreal India has launched ‘Take-Two with L’Oreal’ specifically for those women who would have undertaken a career break for 12 months or more, for absolutely any reason — not just limited to maternity breaks — to restart their career with the beauty company. L’Oreal India director (HR) Roshni Wadhwa said, “‘Take-Two with L’Oreal’ aims to serve as a platform for women to have a successful second innings at work and seamlessly integrate back into the workforce.” For their integration and onboarding, we have curated a host of unique trainings, skill development workshops, and mentorship support of our experienced leaders. Through this programme, we aim to empower as many women as possible, bridge learning gaps, build on their confidence and skills to harness their true potential.”
However, irrespective of the enthusiasm shown by homemakers to start their careers, retention can be an issue for many of them, admits Rajesh. “When a woman is joining a company straight from the campus, the mind is tuned to work. However, for a homemaker, her primary identity has been her home and family. When she’s making that switch to a career and home identity, there is bound to be great stress. Although companies want ready talent, homemakers should be given a reasonably long runway to take off. Sensitising managers is equally important. Additionally, it is also the responsibility of the woman’s family to allow her to make a smooth transition in her career oriented role,” said Rajesh.
“Both sides — the organisation and the homemaker who is getting hired — have to come together in a concerted manner. It has to be a beautiful, synchronized dance. Companies need to invest in helping these women make that transition to adopting a professional identity. They have to motivate them to come and join. On the other hand, homemakers who are starting their career journey need to have that attitude to adapt to the new life and invest in upskilling,” said Rajesh.



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