Even with a good education and experience, finding the right job can be difficult. Add-in a few years out of the job market, and securing employment becomes really challenging. Unfortunately, that’s the situation faced by many of the best potential employees, mothers, but one innovative organization aims to alter that trend.
After several decades that saw the percentage of stay-at-home moms decline, the trend bottomed out at 23% of all mothers in 1999, and by 2012 the number had risen to 29%. Likewise, it’s reported that 43% of highly qualified mothers (ones with greater than average education and experience) are taking significant leaves from their careers in order to be with their children.
While such planned workforce absences tend to be very positive for these women’s families, the hiatuses often play havoc with a woman’s career. For many prospective employers, a gap in employment is a red flag, as they reason that competent and productive people will continually be employed. So, when managers review resumes with gaps of a few years, questions start to cross their minds like:
- Didn’t they want to work?
- Did no one else want to hire them?
- Have their job skills deteriorated?
- Are they capable of using new technology?
These are challenging perceptions for any prospective employee to overcome, and the longer a mother stays out of the workforce, the harder it becomes for her to get back in. Fortunately, one innovative agency has recognized the folly of forgoing the contributions of so many qualified workers and resolved to help these and other women regain employment outside the home.
Gwen Wunderlich and Dara Kaplan, founders of Wunderlich Kaplan Communications (WKC), a public relations firm based in New York City, had repeatedly witnessed the workforce reentry challenge, so they decided to do something about it. They created the “Enternship,” a six-week paid internship for women over forty, who want to re-enter the workforce. The program, which is open to all women 40+, not just mothers, teaches them things like how to: use digital technology, leverage social media, write press releases, create PR campaigns, pitch media, blog, and network.
Besides the Enternship, WKC also offers a variety of seminars and courses with similar aims, for instance: Everyday PR for your Personal Brand, LA Weekend Intensive, Girlfluence, and SEO to CEO. The costs of these programs range from $595 to $1,450, depending on their duration and location. The Enternship and other offerings have generated considerable buzz, grabbing news coverage in media such as the New York Post, Forbes, and the Huffington Post.
Some may wonder, however, if it’s right for a program to be so exclusive? By targeting just women, WKC turns its back on half the population, i.e., men, and by only embracing women over forty, WKC excludes the nation’s largest age cohort: 75 million+ millennials. Don’t these people deserve the same support? Isn’t it unwise for WKC to ignore them?
First, most millennials, who range in age from 18 to 34, have not experienced significant employment interruptions from which they are looking to reenter the workforce. Similarly, while there are men who sit out of the job market for some time, relatively few of them miss years of work because of child-rearing responsibilities; although, those numbers have increased. In short, WKC has identified the market segment most likely to want and need its services.
Furthermore, a fundamental principle of market segmentation and targeting is that no organization can be all things to all people. It goes without saying, but different groups of consumers have different desires. If a company tries to craft a marketing mix that appeals to everyone, it usually ends-up satisfying no one. Furthermore, very few organizations have the resources to try to do so. Consequently, it’s in everyone’s best interest, companies’ and consumers’, for firms to focus on their main target market(s) and allow other organizations to satisfy other shoppers.
Helping women over forty, especially mothers, reenter the workforce is a noble undertaking that stands to benefit not just the recipients of the support, but also the organizations that hire them and our society as a whole. WKC seems to be effectively and efficiently meeting this specific segment’s need, which makes the Enternship and its related programs “Mindful Marketing.”