www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting in May attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows part of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening. Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.
Reacting to Karl Burnett, HR Director, BBC Vision, Helen Veale, MD Outline Productions said that she believed that “the lack of flexible working isn’t cultural it is economic. At Outline we have only got around 12 permanent employees – everyone else is freelance hired for a specific role on a specific production. We can only hire people according to the budget and schedule approved by the broadcaster on each production.”
“But that doesn’t have to mean that there are no opportunities for media parents. The imperative is to get the best staff for each role on each production and often that can mean working mums. A recent attempt to recruit senior staff on a series involved looking at over 100 CVs conducting loads of interviews and after weeks of looking finding the right people, both of whom were working mums just returning to work. It is a real struggle to find the right people for jobs – and if those people are women with kids employers still want to hire them. Women with kids should not underestimate how highly valued their skills are.”
“Be proactive about it. Come with a strategy that works for us both – tell me how you will be able to deliver what the production needs in the way that works for your family responsibilities.”
“If you are looking to work flexibly, come in with a plan about how you are going to be able to do that. If you want to work a job share, find your partner and come in as a pair. As an employer it puts more of a burden on me if I have to recruit two halves of a job separately, but if you arrive as a job share and are the right fit for the job it would be easy to say yes, especially when it is so hard to find people with the right skills and experience.”
On the media parents website www.mediaparents.co.uk we ask employers to state in their profiles what kind of flexible working their company supports. It can be assumed that any company listing on the site will be amenable to your approach. There is a watercooler where you can find a partner to jobshare with, and you can mark on your profile who you would partner with.
More thoughts on flexible working from Helen Veale, Joint MD Outline
“Most of the women at a senior level at Outline have got kids and the really make it work – some have worked part time, some have worked fewer days during school holidays or adjust their working hours the school run. As long as the work gets done within the schedule of the production, or to the deadline it doesn’t matter when the work gets done or if it’s at the office or at home.”
“Flexible working on productions is probably easier on long running formats as Emily Booth said, but not all productions are like that. Lots of Indies are doing shorter run series, or one-offs which might make it harder to accommodate flexible working. However the key has always got to be, come to the production company with a clear positive explanation of what you are asking for and how you are going to make that work for the production.”
Helen also thought it was a shame that there were only two men at the meeting. “On the whole it takes men and women to make children, and men need to take their share of the responsibility. Get your partner to help you so that together you can cover the childcare and juggle what you need to work flexibly.”
Next: Laura Djanogly and Jessica Sharkey
Job share – Director of Production, Hat Trick Productions.
‘It’s not my job, it’s our job’. TO BE CONTINUED…