Team TMN chat with Helen McGuire, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Hopscotch – a new agency looking to change the game for professional women in the MENA region…
Tell us a bit about Hopscotch?
Hopscotch launched in April this year and at the time of launching, it was the first platform to enable and support professional women in finding flexible work to suit their situations.
Where did the concept for Hopscotch originate?
I took maternity leave with my first daughter in 2015 and realised how much talent was being wasted through a lack of opportunities for non-regular work hours. I also know from my own background just how great a need there is for flexible work within businesses. Hopscotch was founded as a way to create a unique solution to these two issues in the region.
What makes Hopscotch unique as a service?
We do not see ourselves as simply a ‘recruitment’ service. We also offer one-on-one coaching and skills workshops that help women re-enter the workforce if they’ve been away for a while.
What do you think makes a company such as Hopscotch particularly relevant to the MENA community?
This region is home to so many women who have either had to leave work due to the maternity laws here, or moved with their husband and perhaps left a successful career behind. We have tapped into that huge talent pool and made it accessible to businesses both large and small, as well as giving these women the opportunity to contribute to the household and kick start their careers again.
How have you marketed Hopscotch since its launch?
We have advertised on two fronts – both in trade/business print and also to our target market of women through magazines such as good. All of our PR and creative work is done in-house, lead by myself and I have experienced a huge interest in comment pieces, features and columns across trade, daily and monthly publications. In addition, we have a very strong social media presence with over 15,000 followers and a solid content strategy across those platforms.
Do you feel that social media has helped your company grow?
Absolutely – it’s essential to be front of mind for both women and business and we have a long-term social media strategy to help with that.
How important do you think it is to encourage working mums in the UAE?
Very! According to the World Bank, GDP would increase by five percent if women played a larger part in the economy here. We have one of the most educated female populations in the world, yet one of the lowest rates of female employment. Hopscotch is changing that.
Can you find candidates for roles within media companies specifically?
With 1000’s of women on our database, who possess a huge array of skills and talents, we don’t specifically provide jobs or candidates for one industry in particular. Having said that, we do cater to a higher percentage of media industry roles than any other, and work with a large number of women who are well suited to these positions.
How can businesses get involved with Hopscotch?
Simply head to hopscotch.ae to register, or email our new Business Director, Jeremy, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you face any challenges in establishing the company in the UAE?
We are part of a parent company, MCG Group, which is one of the most successful recruitment companies in the Middle East. MCG Group already has an established reputation and clients in this region so, thankfully our set up journey wasn’t too turbulent.
What does the future hold for Hopscotch?
We have seen positive expansion in our first six months by employing an excellent team across both recruitment and new business, and on the training front with our skills workshops in collaboration with HSBC, so we aim to keep on that road to ensure that we can help and support both businesses and women to find the perfect employment solution. Our aim has always been to change the game for both parties in this region, so we have some exciting plans and partnerships on the cards to enable that over the next six months!