SMEs attracting women with offers of greater flexibility

A mix of greater flexibility, more mentoring and a personalised management style is attracting more and more women, especially those who are restarting their career after a break, to smaller organisations, experts say.

"Women have begun working in smaller organisations in order to obtain greater flexibility, more mentoring and a more personalised management style. Small industries are among the first segments to encourage those women who took breaks in careers," Saundarya Rajesh, Group Founder and President of AVTAR, a talent consulting firm, told PTI here.

The trend is visible in sectors such as accounting services, tax and legal advisory, content writing, e-publishing, small-scale manufacturing in tier II and III cities, small-scale BPOs, jobs, training and tele-marketing, house-keeping, food and catering.

Small organisations, she said, are more flexible when it comes to employing women and not choosy about a particular educational background or experience.

Women in SMEs occupy many different positions, which is typically not the norm with large companies, she said, adding that small organisations are more supportive of women trying out new roles. In larger companies, the process of creating job descriptions follows standardised global principles, which often keeps out talent experimentation, she noted.

According to Saundarya, SMEs are among the first to look at hiring women who are on breaks.

"It is often very easy for a woman who has demonstrated good performance to avail of leave, sabbaticals, soft loans and other benefits, which might take a very long and often very bureaucratic process in large organisations," she added.

"The nimbleness and agility demonstrated by small organisations when it comes to decision-making around people practices serve as a big benefit for women employees."

GlobalHunt Managing Director Sunil Goel said flexi work hours, work from home, flexible leaves and child care services, besides rejoining flexibility even after a long break, are acting as pull factors.

Smaller organizations, he said, are not only attracting women at mid and junior levels, but witnessing significant contribution by women employees at the helm.

TeamLease Services Senior Vice-President Kunal Sen said the e-commerce boom has led to a number of women becoming entrepreneurs, especially in consumer (fashion) and technology sectors.

Women are perceived to be suited for roles that are either process-oriented or deal in staff functions.