Düsseldorf With the birth of her child, Sandra Westermann received a stamp that she could not let go of. “Difficult to place” it said at the employment office after her boss had given her notice during parental leave. The search for family-friendly jobs turned out to be tedious.
It was only by chance that the production manager found a job where she could work flexibly and take care of her daughter at the same time. “Then I was richer in the knowledge that such employers actually exist,” says the 40-year-old.
From the difficulty of finding this, Westermann created her own job. She founded the “Superheldin” platform, which only advertises jobs that promise family-friendly working conditions. The company now has 15 employees.
“The compatibility of work and family has been one of the most important requirements for good employers for years,” says Tim Weitzel, holder of the chair for information systems in service areas at the University of Bamberg. There is great demand for positions that allow parents to look after their children. The possibility of finding this target-oriented, however, is small – according to Sandra Westermann’s founding thesis.
Their website went online in May 2019. In order to be able to place advertisements, companies have to pay between 390 and 1400 euros. The platform then assigns percentages on a “family friendliness barometer” according to criteria relating to the topics of work models and support.
From 80 percent job advertisements get a little superhero as a seal of quality. The portal does not check whether the promises in the advertisements are actually implemented. “Of course, as outsiders, we cannot personally check every information,” says Sandra Westermann.
Seal in demand
The added value for employers to advertise on “Superheldin” lies on the one hand in the popular “family-friendly” seal, and on the other hand the platform promises access to the “work-experienced resource” mothers, as founder Westermann puts it. “We talk a lot about the shortage of skilled workers and there is a lot of untapped potential in working mothers,” she says.
And the fathers? “We currently have 99.6 percent female users,” says Westermann. But in the long term, men should also benefit from access to family-friendly jobs. Personnel expert Weitzel is also convinced: “Family friendliness also affects male applicants”.
In the corona crisis, both parents had to learn to combine raising children and working from home. Sandra Westermann sees the change in the world of work as an advantage for her business model: “We saw that it works to work flexibly”. After the decline in job advertisements had initially hit her economically, many new customers are now finding the portal. “Our marketing towards flexibility worked,” says the founder.
Nevertheless, Corona has messed up their plans overall: “We actually wanted to be profitable this year – now we are planning to start next year”. Sandra Westermann made a promise based on her own experience. Mothers who search on their portal should get a different stamp: “easy to place”.
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