Interview with Nici Jupp from Talent Gateway

When Nici Jupp decided to return to work part time after having children, she was disappointed by the lack of creativity in recruitment agencies. So she decided to change the way businesses attract, recruit and retain their people by starting her own company, Talent Gateway.

What’s your career background?

Straight from university I started in the telecoms industry. I then spent the next 12 years focused on driving my career full steam ahead. Working right across the business from sales, marketing, product development, corporate due diligence and worked across Europe while doing so.

I never thought that my goals would change once I started a family and hadn’t considered that I might not want to return to working in the same environment with the same drive as before. However, it did change, when I became pregnant with my first child. Unfortunately, for us it wasn’t all plain sailing.

Things took a few twists and turns and we spent a lot of time in and out of hospital with our son Sam. Thankfully he is a healthy 11 year old boy. I now have three fabulous children who often bring far more challenge than work ever did!

What inspired you to start Talent Gateway and what is it?

Having decided that I didn’t want to return to working full time in London, I approached a couple of recruitment agencies regarding more flexible work. I was really disappointed with their response. At that time they showed no interest in thinking creatively for either their candidates or the businesses they worked with.

I spoke to many other individuals who were feeling just like me. We all had so much to offer but no means to offer it to businesses. I was also lacking in confidence and didn’t have a business network to tap into because I wanted to try a different sector. I decided that this was madness. I then decided to set up Talent Gateway.

My vision is to change the way businesses attract, recruit and retain their people. Thinking differently and creatively about their options to attract and retain the best people in the market. Thinking about the alternatives in order to build a better business through cross sector diversity, age diversity, flexible working other additional benefts.

It’s all about flexibility and an open mind for both business and candidates for a more productive outcome. If we get the match right, both sides win and so does the overall economy.

I love the Henry Ford quote ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. We work with business leaders who want to change the way things have always been done in recruitment.

While Talent Gateway focuses on those individually who I would class as ‘work ready’. We have seen another group of people who aren’t quite ready and so, this month (September) we have launched a new division called Returners Gateway which is focused purely on helping those individuals who have taken a substantial career break.

It’s like an internship but for someone who has lots of previous experience and is looking for a way back. We provide a coach and support throughout an identified project with a business.

What do you think is the biggest barrier to mums returning to work?

I think there are a couple of things. Lack of open mindedness by some who won’t consider the benefits of doing something differently. A route back for mums looking to return. Which we hope Returners Gateway will go some way to helping with.

What can employers do to ease the transition?

Advertise posts as having the option of flexibility. You will get far more people applying and will be pleasantly surprised by the quality.

And how best can mums help themselves?

Get onto LinkedIn and get your CV up to date. Use social media. Talk to specialist agencies. Most importantly, talk to those who are working already and educate them about the possibility of recruiting differently. This will open the door for companies such as ours, leading to more opportunities for mums and dads to work for great companies.

You’re launching a new initiative to help mums return to work. What is it?

The premise behind Returners Gateway is that organisations identify a project/piece of work, which has commercial value to them. We then find the right returner with the right background, attitude, values and aspirations and work with the business to fulfil the project.

The projects last for anything from 10-14 weeks or can be longer. There is no guarantee of work at the end of the project but the returner will be back in the world of work, more confident, starting to build a network that they haven’t been part of for some time. We also provide them with a coach for the duration of the project.

Who is your ideal client?

Our ideal clients are open minded businesses. And our ideal candidates are mums and dads who have held mid to senior level positions before taking a career break.

Who inspires you?

I have a funny mixture – Emily Pankhurst, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Maggie Thatcher. Those who have fundamentally helped change people perceptions or who have made a difference to the way we think or in Bill Gates case, made a difference through his philanthropic work to so many lives. Trailblazers.

What are your top three tips for mums preparing to return to work?

  1. Don’t be afraid because there are lots of us.
  2. Go for it. Take the first step and talk to someone about it.
  3. Persevere – you are already doing the hardest job in the world – being a parent. What job could make you feel, good, bad, selfish, fabulous, proud, motivated and a whole lot more!

You can find out more about Talented Gateway on their website