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9-2-3 is a recruitment agency that specialises in placing high quality candidates into jobs with hours that fit in around the school run.



Case studies and thoughts on the working Mum in today's workplace


My Visit To Denman College with The 9-2-3 Club

Helen Wright

By Jenna Doran

On the 22nd January I took my first step back into the networking circle and attended an event at the stunning Denman College, hosted by 9-2-3 Jobs.

I'm lucky enough to be working with Helen and Lucy at 9-2-3 Jobs having started a social media management training course with Digital Mums and as soon as Helen mentioned the event to me, I immediately knew that I wanted to attend.

This was a great opportunity for a mum like me after being out of work for five years, to get back into the swing of things (not just me but my brain too) and use my voice to have an impact on a fab fundraising campaign, instead of disarming my toddler from her usual tantrum!

The nerves had started the night before, would I embarrass myself? Say the wrong thing? Was I ready? What do I wear? However, upon arriving, all of these questions were brushed aside. Helen was the first lady I met that day and work aside, I quickly realised that Helen was a mum too and since setting up in 2015 has realised a wonderful initiative through her job agency, helping parents back into the workplace with flexible working arrangements putting their skills to work for the benefit of businesses and themselves, whilst still being able to do the school run. 

Why is it taking businesses so long to catch on to this? I'll never know... but I hope that there is enough momentum this year (and I do believe there is), for them to sit up and take note.

Denman College is a truly amazing hub of creativity, offering members and non-members of the Women's Institute a haven of activity to explore their own talents and socialise with friends. It just has to be the next venue for GBBO with its stunning grounds and cookery school which we were lucky enough to be given a tour of by Ruba and her team.

It's reassuring, once armed with a (child-free) cup of tea and a room full of other like-minded mums, that you really do have so much in common. All have had some kind of career break for one reason or another and are looking to be creative again with their talents. Most mums were feeling exactly like me on the morning leading up to the event but all now felt relaxed and comfortable as the event unfolded. 

Having sampled some delicious homemade WI shortbread, we sat down to an introduction from Helen, who reinforced the value of attending events such as these. I wholeheartedly agreed - looking around and talking to the women there, it was obvious we had a wonderful room full of talented individuals and not all of it was being put to its best use in the workplace. Having said that, there were women there who ran their own businesses and it was great to hear their stories, their ideas and their passion to help mothers back into the world of work.

After a short presentation from Ruba about the fundraising campaign for Denman College, we quickly got into some work sharing ideas and working together as a team to present back to the room. Yes, the nerves suddenly shot back into my stomach when having to do this, but the realisation that we were all pretty much in the same boat reassured me. 

After leaving Denman, with some great contacts I may add, it became abundantly clear that the day wasn't just about solving some problems and suggesting ideas for a campaign, it was about bringing women together, unleashing that voice and talent that may have been under-used for some time and giving attendees hope for their potential (and flexible) career in the near future.

Helen and Lucy at 9-2-3 Jobs do a marvellous job and should be applauded for thinking outside the box on this and enabling events such as this to happen.

I can't wait for the next one!

Flexible Working - A Future For All

Helen Wright

With flexible working set to become the norm over the next few years, a growing number of employers now embrace this concept and accept that addressing the flexible working gap is a path to attaining a more productive working environment for employees and employer alike.

In a survey of Managers by the Institute of Leadership & Management, 82% think offering flexible working is beneficial to their businesses – with improvements in productivity, commitment and retention.

Figures show there are over 427,000 female professionals looking to return to work following a career break. Price Waterhouse Coopers believe that addressing the career break penalty could deliver gains of up to £1.7 billion to the UK economy alone.  ( 

A number of market leaders, including PwC, Vodafone & JP Morgan, have been looking at ways to encourage women back to work after extended career breaks.  The outcome of one of these projects has been to introduce “Returnship” programmes in various forms, providing “an effective route back to professional roles, with transitional support to upskill and regain professional self-belief”.

At least 76% of women not currently working want to return to work at some stage with a large number of these looking for flexible working in the guise of either reduced/compressed hours or the ability to work from home for at least some of the time. (PwC/Women Returners)

Organisations are beginning to look at how to attract these talented candidates to fill their vacant roles and by offering flexible working to these prospective employees, they can create a positive outcome for both parties:

Here at 9-2-3 we specialise in finding flexible jobs for professional people.  Educating our clients in how offering flexible working will provide benefits for their businesses:

·         According to 76% of businesses questioned for a recent CIPD report, Flexible working improves staff retention

·         Higher Productivity (83% businesses reported higher productivity – Vodafone 2016)

·         Increased Profits (61% saw a rise in profits – Vodafone 2016)

·         Fewer Sick days (A recent survey by Unison showed that sickness reduced from 12% to 2% amongst those that worked flexibly.

We find highly skilled candidates for roles, looking at how flexible working can be provided to meet both the client and candidate needs. We are currently developing a 5 point back to work programme of our own for women returning to work after a career break.  Our programme offers participants the opportunity to take 5 different elements of coaching including: technology, career, confidence, mindfulness and presentation, enabling participants to return to workplace, fully prepared and confident in their ability to kickstart their career again.

In September 2017, a survey was carried out on behalf of 9-2-3, which found that 3 in 4 workers believe we will all be working flexibly within 5 years. The survey also showed that flexibility was the most important factor when selecting a job (along with pay and location – and ahead of the benefits package and career prospects). 

The next time you are looking to recruit, think about how you can make the role flexible and engage a whole group of professionals who are waiting to add value to your company.

To coin a phrase - The future is bright, the future is flexible.


9-2-3 RESEARCH: 1,002 male and female office workers in the UK were questioned (Sept 2017):

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The end of 9 to 5...

Helen Wright

I’ve been to Westminster this week and called for a revolution! I want to see a revolution in the work place, and an end of the 9 to 5.

While launching The 9-2-3 Club at The House of Commons I called on all businesses to advertise their next hire as a flexible one, and called on all candidates to ask about flexible working arrangements in their next interview – not a demand, just a question.

Of course 9-2-3 only works on roles with flexible working arrangements. We believe that flexible working leads to increased productivity, fewer sick days, greater staff retention – and a more motivated and engaged work force. And flexible working needn't mean part-time hours, for some it means working full-time but with compressed hours or home-working. Flexible working is for everyone.

The 9-2-3 Club is all about giving individuals the opportunity to get together and share experiences in an informal setting, and for those who have had a career break, hopefully enable them to gain in confidence before re-entering the workplace. We have more meetings planned in London and the Thames Valley and some really inspirational speakers lined up (keep an eye on for all the details).

While at Westminster I also revealed the findings of a new survey commissioned by 9-2-3. It found the British workplace landscape will be changing substantially over the next 5 years as nearly 3 out of 4 (73%) office workers envisage that working flexibly will become the norm.

Flexible working is here to stay. Let’s start taking action to help it here faster!

As anyone who’s spoken to me will know – I’m passionate about flexible working, and I was thrilled with the support The 9-2-3 Club had at its launch. Representatives from businesses – big and small – along with candidates (those who have had career breaks and those who haven’t) plus others, such as Digital Mums, who like me, are campaigning for a more flexible workplace. The launch wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Victoria Prentis MP, who sponsored the event. She said:  “Having job shared before I became a MP, I am really supportive of any initiative that encourages flexibility in the workplace. It is not just mums and dads who have career breaks – increasingly we are seeing people taking on caring responsibilities for elderly relatives as well. Helping these talented professionals to continue to work is so important.”

I was also delighted that Margot James MP (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility) came along and spoke passionately about the benefits of flexible working – for both employees, employers and society as a whole.

It’s funny to think that all this started a few years ago, while I was pushing my children on the swings at my local playground. I had been struggling to find any flexible or part-time work, and I looked around and saw I wasn’t alone. The playground was full of talented and experienced professionals all looking for flexible opportunities. And at the same time I realized there were lots of businesses out there struggling to find the talent they needed to help their business thrive and grow.

9-2-3 now has more than a thousand candidates on their books, and we look forward to welcoming many more. Companies of all sizes are also being invited to take part in The 9-2-3 Club, and join in the revolution!