The Malta Independent 16 August 2017, Wednesday

FIRST: A working connection - Katja Dingli Bennetti

Wednesday, 13 April 2016, 10:45 Last update: about 2 years ago

Katja Dingli Bennetti is a Purchasing Director with an International Destination Management Company. For the last 16 years her career has been focused on hospitality and the travel industry, but she recently decided to do something about the much-discussed national need to encourage more participation by women, particularly mothers in the workforce. So she founded the website www.jobsformumsmalta.com (Jobs for Mums Malta), a job search engine entirely dedicated to advertising flexible job opportunities. She tells First about what led her to take the plunge. Photography by Jonathan Borg.

Jobs for Mums Malta is a job search engine different from any other in Malta, explains Katja.

"It has been created with the aim of providing a platform which helps advertise and find flexible or reduced hour job opportunities for a better work-life balance. Advancements in technology have given a new dimension to the concept of being a typical employee, and it also has facilitated how a regular family operates. More than ever, this has opened the doors for women to successfully undertake jobs while simultaneously raising children.

 "Women who are professionally driven will always be driven no matter where their desks are, and women who have become Mums and are attempting to return to the workforce are bringing more skills with them, not less. I am a strong believer that there is a huge talent-pool out there which we are missing out on," she says.

 

What made you decide to set up the website?

The idea of Jobs for Mums Malta came to me at the end of last year. It was probably an underlying thought which I've had for a long time, but the catalyst was yet another post from a frustrated Mum who wanted to work I read on Facebook.

 I thought we needed a platform where employers who had reduced hours and flexible job opportunities had a place to promote them to an interested audience, and a platform which allowed Mums to easily search and find these jobs.

 

How will the search engine work?

Jobs for Mums Malta is free and very simple to use. Mums, or anyone looking for a flexible work opportunity only needs to access the website and browse for a job using the user-friendly interface. I have designed the website and search engine in a way that one can be specific in their search, giving only search results which they are interested in. For example, you can search for from 'home only jobs', 'part-time only jobs', or even choose which hours of the day you are available to work and the results will provide you the available job opportunities which meet the exact criteria.

 

Are you also a mother as well as a career woman yourself?

Today, I am first and foremost a wife and a Mum to my four-and-a-half year old twin boys Adam and Zak, then a career woman. Work-life balance to me means fulfilling the role of career woman within you, because I feel I am a better "me" if I feel fulfilled by my work life, but also by finding the time and fulfilment in playing with my two little boys. That is something I would not trade for the world.

 After many years of travelling and total commitment to my work, I knew that once the boys where born I wanted to be home more. However, as a professional, I was not willing to throw away my career which I had worked so hard for.

I was fortunate. My employer at the time valued my work and without any hesitation agreed to allow me the opportunity to work from wherever and whenever I could get the job done. So once the boys where born I worked my mornings at the office, and afternoons from home. This allowed me to schedule my meetings in the morning, telephone meetings during nap times, and get more work done during the evening if needed whilst still successfully fulfilling my role in the company.

 Now that the boys are older and being more demanding, I took the decision last February to switch to part-time hours where I now only work three to four times a week, mornings only.

 

What do you think are the main problems faced by mothers who wish to work?

There is definitely a lack of flexible work opportunities, and the ones that do exist are lost in the numerous job advertising platforms which are full of many other job opportunities which the flexible job seeker usually finds do not fit in with their life.

 

Apart from offering  flexibility, are the jobs available on your search engine of any specific type?

Jobs for Mums Malta is available to any employer: private, state or otherwise, as long as the opportunities offered are flexible full-time jobs, reduced hours, part-time jobs, term-time jobs, work-from-home jobs, project-based jobs or even short term job opportunities. 'Regular' full-time jobs cannot be advertised.

 

How hard Ð or easy Ð has it been to find employers who were willing to adapt their vacancies?

I would be lying if I said it was easy. If only employers knew the numerous advantages they would gain by offering flexible work opportunities, I'm sure many more would do so.

Having said that, Jobs for Mums Malta was only launched in the first week of January and I must admit that the response from job seekers as well as companies has been more than I could have hoped for. The future looks bright. There are forward-thinking employers who have the job opportunities: it's just a matter of finding them, or them finding us.

 

So you think there are many employers that are not aware of the enormous untapped potential of mums?

Yes, in large part I don't think many have yet realised how much talent is sitting in our homes. But I hope that through the little bit of help from Jobs for Mums Malta, and our success stories which will come from it, this will change.

 In this spirit, I started our Maltese Working Mum Interviews. These are featured about once a month in our website's blog section. They are real Maltese working Mum stories which we share with our followers through our social media platforms. I hope that they will show Mums at home that it can be done, and show employers how successful Mums are being at their jobs.

 


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