The world is waking up to the fact that startups and indeed all businesses do better when the women workforce is given the charge to lead. Women themselves are preferring to work with startups than with established corporates. An alarming bell for the latter, but a moment of pride and joy for any-and-every start-up that has women in team. However, when women come to the workplace so does the question of equal pay. So we decided to explore if startups for women are really a lucrative option.
Research says that women are founding more and more startups than ever before. In fact, the percentage of funded startups, with at least one female founder or up to 50% women-workforce, has risen from just 9 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2017.
So are startups for women a lucrative option?
Break-away from ‘old boys club’ mentality
Yangchen Yonzon, Managing Director, Client Acquisitions, Meltwater India explains, “When you are part of an entrepreneurial setup, where momentum in growth is paramount, you will be hired for your merits and your willingness to roll-up your sleeves…irrespective of your gender. There is no history of male-dominated roles which means it’s easier for women to break the glass ceiling or in most cases there might not even be a glass ceiling to break.
Allowed to Spread Your Wings
One of the biggest complaints that I have heard from my women peers, colleagues, and friends, is the fact that in a corporate structure they are usually restricted to the main task they have been hired for. They don’t get to express and utilise their talent into other arenas. A one-person-fits-one-task scenario.
Thus, freshers are preferring to work the startups, with the experienced lot also trying their hand, happily. Why? Well, since a start-up means a small team, a closer team and a thus a better team …it is here where you are allowed to don different hats. Yes, even that weird hat which you thought you will never get to don, but you might, with that talent brimming inside you. Recognition is the word and it is what you get here!
After deep introspection, I too confess this was frankly one of the reasons why I chose to establish myself as an independent journalist who now works with established startups since July 2017. And take my word, this switch (from 15 years in a true-blue corporate culture with the best of brands in India) has been a great learning, growing and satisfying experience.
‘Desired & Deserved Career’ Exposure
Here I again go back to Yonzon for her opinion. Not because Yangchen is an MD at Meltwater India, but because this lady rose from being a consultant in May 2014 to a manager in three months to be chosen to become a Managing Director in 10 months!
A vibrant team leader, Yangchen asserts, “Learning when you are put out of your comfort zone- frequently: start-ups give you a lot of exposure at a very nascent stage in your career. You will be thrown at deep ends multiple times where you discover your strengths and also areas of improvement, and in the process your understanding of how businesses work is maximised. You get to work closely and be mentored by senior people which accelerates your growth tremendously.”
So how does this happen? I explain through the next fact.
Learn from True Innovators
People who establish a start-up come with a vision that is totally different from those who have never got the chance/idea/whatever-it-takes to create something of their own. And “Start-up Entrepreneurs” are also well-known for seeing a problem and then finding an innovative way of solving it. Not only this, they even work on innovations so that similar problems do not arise in future.
Thus such leaders are the best to learn from. And women being keen and faster learners are finding jobs with startups a better option than with those established corporates that continue to work on an idea that might not be refreshed from time-to-time.
You Matter, Your Opinions Matter
Haling from Sikkim, Yonzon puts it this way, “Startups have a great work culture where your colleagues become your second family. Hence, naturally, you get a lot of support even outside of work. They listen to their employees and are flexible with the requirements of their employees. For every decision that is taken, employees suggestions are taken. This instills trust and ownership in the employees who then in turn take up bigger challenges for the organisations.”
And from here I take on to the next fact: When YOU matter, it results in immense ‘Work-Satisfaction’.
For ambitious women, a startup is an ideal place to develop better skill by understanding each element of the development process since they matter at each stage and not just separately as a leading team, an innovative team or an executive team that works on specific work assigned. And when you grow mentally, that is when you smile with satisfaction.
Flexible Work-environment = Higher Retention Rates
The working environs of even the most established startups are set up in such a manner that they benefit women in the long run. How? I explain.
I agree that most of the start-ups might demand long working hours in the beginning. But soon they will progress to the next phase where they need to compete with other startups. And it is at this time they award all your hard work with benefits that promotes work-life balance to retain you in job since you have been there when they needed a dedicated employee; since you have been there when they were jittery to go ahead with an idea and since you accepted them (mostly) when even their peers didn’t believe ‘it’ would work. And this reward mean: flexible work-hours, parental leave as well as wellness perks! Isn’t that what most of the working women who double up as a caring mother/wife look for?
Flexible work environment – this catch-point isn’t just a boon to women workforce but also a boost for a steady growth of any startup due to NO or Minimal workforce-exodus. Because workforce exodus means exodus of ideas that have been giving you the desired push so far. Right?
Women = Results
Take any example you can find on Google or via your friend circle, companies with women in leadership or a company driven by women has always outperformed the competitors globally…be it in terms of repute or finances or ideas. Why? Because even medical research has proved that women have better attention and performance span than men. But obvious, a startup which is always at risk of running out of steam, mostly relies on a diverse team which means better decisions.
Even Forbes suggests that even Fortune 500 Companies have got most of their profit from gender diversity, with at-least 2/3 women at leadership positions.
Yonzon wraps up with her parting advice to those women who are still contemplating on where to work: “In the recent past India has witnessed many success stories of women – either creating start-ups or working there…since these are mostly exemplary organisations which are creating an ecosystem where equal opportunities are given irrespective of your gender.”
In short, an even temperament, a healthy lifestyle with work-life balance as well as broad range of experiences will continue to attract women to startups. No wonder startups are a raging trend in the global job market due to their unique and innovative idea-driven-work culture.
So what’s your job plan after reading this piece?
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