Australian start-up, Puffling, has launched with its sights set on the advertising industry to disrupt the marketplace for employment for return-to-work mothers.
Puffling describes the model as the next evolution of job sharing, focusing on finding female advertising talent, matching them with a highly skilled partner and then placing them into a full time role together.
Puffling pairs will be able to solve double the number of problems on twice as many brands, it gets more women back into the industry to support gender diversity and harnesses the power of mums who are some of the most talented yet underutilised people in the industry.
Launched in December last year, hundreds of women have already signed up, expressing their interest to pair and interview for new roles. And with over twenty of Australia’s leading agencies and brands signed up to trial the Puffling model in the beta phase, the founders believe they have created a new concept with the potential to change the game for employers and employees in Australia.
Says Mike Wilson, CEO, Havas Media: “Puffling is a great service business idea for our industry whose time has clearly come. The combination of this innovative platform along with the top team in the business – well-known to, and highly credentialled in the industry – will undoubtedly help solve one of the biggest issues that we face. I can only foresee great success for Mike and his team, and we are happy to support Puffling”.
Havas Media have signed on as one of the agency partners for the trial as well as other leading agencies such as Host, TBWA, VML, M&C Saatchi to name a few.
Mike Hill (pictured above, right), who founded digital design firm Holler in Australia, led the project to launch with co-founders Sarah Parker and Lija Wilson with an MVP designed by his startup studio, Aardwolf. They crafted the concept last year and have designed a trial phase to test and validate the model in advertising before potentially moving into other categories.
Sarah Parker (above, centre), a seasoned client services director who has worked at many of Sydney’s leading agencies began freelancing last year after the birth of her second child.
Says Parker: “I love my industry but the opportunities for flexible, part-time roles in advertising are hard to come by. Too many fantastic women opt out of agencies or trade flexibility for seniority and financial gains after children. We want to change the way agencies think about hiring and retaining female talent in Australia.”
Lija Wilson (above, left) has spent much of her career managing large marketing teams and agency relationships as a former head of marketing of Fairfax Media and Qantas Group. She, like Parker, left the corporate environment after her second child and passionately believes in the future of flexible working models which Puffling can help facilitate.
Says Wilson: “We launched with the advertising industry because it’s familiar to us but also because of the number of women who are challenged by the lack of career opportunity with flexibility at mid and senior levels. Mums wanting to return to work seemed the logical place for us to start recruiting, there is a huge and untapped pool of highly experienced talent ready to get to work, but we believe that Puffling can scale to fathers, carers or anyone else suited to a flexible arrangement. The opportunities are limitless.”
The team expect to complete the trial in April and to then scale, expanding into other verticals and roles.
Says Hill: “Having worked in an agency environment for years, I understand the costs of recruitment and the significant issue in our industry of retaining senior female talent. We have been extremely excited but also humbled by the overwhelming response from agency heads who jumped on board to trial Puffling.”