1. The problem our project solves
Problem: As businesses and employees need to reorganise, new and efficient methods are needed for the workforce to adjust to a changing environment and needs. Effective workforce flexibility can only occur when employees can align what they want to do with what is needed in the market. Employees may need to refresh or learn new skills and identify skills or knowledge that can be monetised. This is a two-sided problem. Employers need to be able to find effective workers that bring value and Employees need to adjust, identify their value, and be able to communicate their interests and skills well within a very dynamic business landscape.
During the pandemic and beyond, particularly for workers finding themselves unemployed, in precarious situations, or after an extended leave of work, it’s necessary to reevaluate skills and needs to repurpose careers. It’s also essential that people living through difficult times with economic, social, and family pressures include consideration of self-value and positive emotional development as part of career repurposing.
While this is a problem for many in the workforce, we are focussing as a team to start with the very niche group of mid-career parents whose careers are now impacted with fewer options as they need to also homeschool their kids.
There are 87 Million mothers in Europe alone, 38% of them are working with 20% of them working full time.
2. The solution we bring to the table
Solution: We propose to look into tools and services that help people repurpose their careers during the pandemic and beyond.
&ahead is a platform that uses AI to match our user’s unique skills, traits and purpose with inclusive employers. In this pandemic, we use technology to create a database of job opportunities from essential businesses who offer in particular remote and flexible working options. With our platform, we want to be a lobbyist for parents in particular mums to continue to achieve their career potential and also support other lobbyists with similar goals.
Prototype overview: https://andahead.com/prototype/
Defining Clarity Onboarding: https://andahead.com/?page_id=2494 Clarity: https://andahead.com/?page_id=2498 Intro to Ikigai: https://andahead.com/?page_id=2507 Ikigai questions: https://andahead.com/?page_id=2512
Our Key Features
As deliverables, we’ve built prototype screens and linked them in a logical flow so that we can continue with user interviews, storytelling and client feedback collection. We’ve built these using Wordpress, Elementor and Engage Bay tools.
Feature 1: Digital Career Playbook / e-coaching (3Cs) Part of our Unique Selling Proposition is supporting people through the process of career relaunching. In this career repurposing, in a time of deep uncertainty, people searching for a job may need particular support in clarifying their career, skills, desires and communicating them.
A person may intend to get back to work but is often filled with anxiety, insecurity and lack of confidence. To improve this process and reduce these negative feelings we use a methodology called 3Cs - - for Clarify, Create, and Connect.
The first step, the focus for the Hackathon Feature 1 is getting Career Clarity. This will be followed by the Create (create your professional brand) and Connect (connect your network) steps.
In the Feature 1 designed and built in the Hackathon, we guide the user through the collection process of information that they will repurpose to develop “clarity” in their career path. These questions, both the general “get to know you” and the “ikigai” career questions are shared with a coach (directly by email in the prototype but as part of a CRM in a future build).
The data entered here, along with Natural Language Processing (NLP) of the ikigai answers and the candidates CV’s will be used to extract key-words and skills. These elements will be part of the unique search criteria filters in Feature 2.
Feature 2: Job Search and Communication/Skills Support The needs of a candidate during the Job Search process go beyond the technical tools to search and identify potential jobs, particularly during the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. Employees’ needs include how to clearly understand themselves, how to manage their network, how to communicate with potential HR hiring managers and how / when to upskill.
We break up Feature 2 into the following sections: 2A - Job search tools specific to our personas 2B - Support tools to understand communications and personal network management 2C - Personal skill needs identification and recommendations
A Unique Job Search Engine: There are a plethora of job search engines available - some are stand-alone, others are aggregators, many are specific to regions or target industries. Candidates can also look for freelance or gig work on a variety of specific crowd-sourcing or freelance sites. Part of our project’s Unique Selling Proposition is that we our search tool will deliver results best matched through AI, on some key factors that best fit our the needs of our target audience:
Prioritize by Job Type: PartTime, Contract, Temp, Internship, Other, FullTime, WorkAtHome Matching skills and keywords from candidate profile and CV analysis Focus on Inclusive Employers e.g. those that offer childcare support
We look at both our users’ skills, experience and career aspirations together with the demands/requirements in these areas and will help the parents with a focus on mums to create an appealing but authentic job search/hunt story based on the needs and their unique skills to match them.
Feature 3: Matching of emerging needs to demand using algorithms - AI, Machine Learning across EU countries.
Learning from existing career paths, and taking into account the hard and soft skills of candidates as well as their career aspirations, career path recommendations can be made. This is possible thanks to automatically generated pattern recognition models. The combined power of artificial intelligence, pattern recognition and a powerful ontology, the best career predictions can be made.
AI concept: We intend to use AI methods to assist in three areas:
- matching applicant skills from unformatted data (CV, natural language questions) and search criteria to profile jobs that have the best fit with the overall applicant profile.
- analyze the applicants CV for missing skills or particular strengths versus a skills identified for specific job descriptions so that the applicant can highlight positive aspects and address missing skills
- identify skill success factors and make upskill recommendations
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is one of the most evident uses of AI in our application to convert long-text answers and the unstructured data in a CV into keywords.
Using databases such as (https://github.com/JAIJANYANI/Automated-Resume-Screening-System & https://github.com/arefinnomi/curriculum_vitae_data, https://www.kaggle.com/vingkan/strategeion-resume-skills) we intend to analyse CVs to help surface skills sets that are relevant to a position vs those that are not. This will also allow us to make job opening recommendation beyond the keywords or job titles typically used directly in a job search.
Given the ethical concerns of AI used in hiring we are not using AI to recommend the best candidate for a job, but rather the reverse, to compliment the CV writing, re-training and job search steps to make recommendations to the applicant.
Let's cover some examples of AI assisted recommendations:
Janet has "iOS developer" in her CV as a prior position but has not specified or has forgotten to list all the programming languages she has used, an analysis of both the CV and job offering databases will surface that "Swift", "C++", etc are both relevant skills that should be mentioned, and we might make recommendations on jobs that are not directly searched for but that match some the high-frequency matching. We intend to be transparent in our recommendations and integrate self validating steps for the AI learning, "Do you know C++? - These jobs are also recommended." Every yes or on will then be used to further teach the skill qualifying algorithm.
Joe has "M&A Manager" in his CV title and is focused on searching for a finance job; he includes that he has Six Sigma Black Belt certificate. In his Ikigai he's noted that he has good people and organisation skills. A career relaunch in Human Resources with an M&A/communications focus may be possible for Joe and skills recommendations for this type of role may include "Change Management Certification" as a possible upskill.
These algorithms are not part of our deliverables for the Hackathon but are included as some of the additional value we think we can bring and will be looking to develop. Today, we provide these type of analysis manually by people who have direct experience in these job areas but we lack the ability to say how relevant these recommendations truly are in an environment where the job offer is changing rapidly - large sets of available data will allow us to improve on these types of analysis.
Carolina Yeo: Entrepreneur and Former Head of Talent Management for MNCs with over 14 years of international experience. Founder of &ahead and My Career and Child Community. Passionate about the future of work for women. Recent mum of 2 little girls. https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolinayeo/
Margit Takács: Change Management & Culture Expert with 17 years of experience from 7 countries, passionate about catalyzing change without borders. Working as an independent consultant, trainer & coach whilst educating toddler child. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margittakacs/
Britta Mues-Walter: Founder & CEO at Mues-Walter Executive Search. Digital & global headhunter with over 20 years of recruiting experience. Mompreneur with a passion for people and bringing people together. She returned to work twice after her children, now teenagers of 17 and 14. https://www.linkedin.com/in/britta-mues-walter-1044198/
Eugenio Grapa: Entrepreneur, CTO @ &Ahead, Co-founder, CTO & CMO @ Supplino. Director @ Founder Institute, Frankfurt. Biomedical Engineer, over 20 years experience in Pharma eMarketing, Strategy and Innovation. https://www.linkedin.com/in/eugeniograpa/
Paola Campo: Content Strategist with over 15 years of corporate experience in various industries and an entrepreneur for the past 2.5 years working with a wide range of clients in technology, travel, coaching, and lifestyle businesses. https://www.linkedin.com/in/paolacampo/
Priyanka Sathe: Digital Marketing Specialist with 6 years of experience preparing and coordinating balanced merchandise selections with a background in Buying, Retail Merchandising, and Inventory management. https://www.linkedin.com/in/priyanka-sathe-86019322/
Adeline Lee: Product & Growth Expert, Advisor to early-stage startups with expertise from both B2B and B2C products within the telecommunication, healthcare and design spaces in both Europe and Asia. She is passionate about building high performance teams and also advising early stage startups. https://www.linkedin.com/in/adelineleecs/
3. What we have done during the weekend
Bringing our product to the next level and helping to adapt it to the effects in our market through the Corona Crisis:
- Adapting our Persona definition affected through the crisis
- Customer/User map: Include script and Video as an attachment
- Creating and developing of our job matching feature (Website Screen recording of our MVP/ customer/user journey and Linking the pages)
- Corona crisis research and numbers
- Go to market canvas: Product/Platform
- Business Canvas to show: Problem we are solving, USP, Channels, revenues streams and cost structure
- Showing our progress on devpost
- Getting advice from our mentor
4. The solution’s impact to the crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has put tens of millions of jobs at risk. More than 146 countries across the world are affected due to an analysis done by McKinsey a total of 59 million jobs will be at risk in Europe alone. Approximately 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide.
Top 7 industries to be affected due to coronavirus: Retail & Ecommerce Travel & Tourism Hyperlocal Marketplaces Sports & Entertainment Insurance Tech Fintech
Examples of Industries/Sectors in need /hiring are currently https://qz.com/1823537/the-companies-with-jobs-hiring-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/
- Amazon 100.000 jobs
- Supermarkets/grocery stores (Lidl, Aldi 9000 jobs, tesco 10.000 etc.
- Pharmaceutical industry and medical care (CVC health 50,000 workers )
- Remote workers needed (global job postings by video chat platform Zoom nearly doubled from Jan. 1 to March 9, from 128 openings to 252. At Slack, a company that makes corporate chat software, job postings jumped 50% over the same period, from 163 to 242)
We will be leveraging open source data that are already available. For example, European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (open source data) data structure.https://ec.europa.eu/esco/portal/download that already sources data from different job boards.
Support tools for our BtC users/customers during their career relaunch during a crisis
Examples of advice that we already provide to our users: During the time of job searching in a crisis it is important to 1. Stay connected and embrace online networking. Staying on top of your mind and having in mind that the hiring process will take longer and it is not necessary to panic if you do not hear back from the employer right away you are applying, follow up with the HR /Hiring Manager after 1-2 weeks if you do not hear back 3. Do your research 4. Ask specific questions and 5. Hone your skills - there are a lot of free courses available for digital upskilling or other relevant skills you want to gain.
Through our matching algorithm we are able to help the economy to shift some of the employees who are laid off to sectors where jobs are needed with our community of mid career mums. As we are looking into the skills, experience and passions of our customers on a deeper level we can find areas and industries where these would also fit into and help those employers who are desperately looking for people and talent as long as they are willing to offer flexible working hours and remote working.
5. The necessities in order to continue the project
We will need to continue to build partnerships with more partner organisations (private and public) and our board of advisors especially individuals and organisations that support our cause. We would like to work with organisations such as European Women’s Lobby (EWL) brings together the women’s movement in Europe to influence the general public and European Institutions in support of women’s human rights and equality between women and men organisations within the EU Commission, Women Lobby Organisation, Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC), European Skills/Competences, Qualifications and Occupations, BPWE - Business and Professional women europe, European Network of Migrant Women, The European Investment Bank (EIB) supporting Gender Equality and Women's economic empowerment, Gender Equality Commission (GEC) etc
We would need funding to continue to build our digital career repurposing platform and AI job matching technology including bringing in the best in class experts on people analytics and machine learning. Many who are currently advisors to our team This app will help both the clients & the candidates connect, see the openings, and apply. We need to also further enhance our marketing, media and communications to continue to spread the word and gain more visibility. For example with marketing materials and advertisements in women magazines, working mum journals, Schools, Kitas etc.
See attached our Lean Canvas: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uBDH5-zNBQcJGm2-L42mMXyRzwM70SYC/view?usp=sharing
6. What's next for &ahead Career Repurposing
Our international team from Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Colombia and Mexico have been developing the idea and concept last 2 years to help parents in particular mums relaunch and repurpose their careers after a career break
Our Go to Market and Business Model
More than 500 members in our community have used our tools, platform and methodology both online and offline to support them in their relaunch. Now with the pandemic, the career relaunch becomes even harder with more careers affected during the business restructuring processes and managing homeschooling and elderly at home.
We need to continue to develop our platform elaborating further and testing the KPIs and the feasibility of the business plan.
The Hackathon exercise has allowed us to define some prototypes and possible future development - we will move forward and get feedback from customer testing and implementation experiments. The early thinking on AI based services requires much more design thinking and experimentation to look into the potential outputs and methods. We'll look into how well this fits within our strategy to support people relaunching their careers and how me might then implement MVPs for these features.
Local to Global community leaders and Ambassadors We plan to grow our local community leaders and ambassadors network globally to scale to more markets (e.g. Berlin, Zurich, Brussels, Singapore etc) and provide support the 15 million working mums who are planning to return to work and now even more with the current crisis. We aim to have 15,000 users by the end of 2021.
Corporate Partnerships We will continue to sign up with more companies who are either looking to recruit from this hidden talent pool through our platform especially as now business models are changing and also support the companies whose employees especially parents/mums whose careers are affected from the crisis.
In addition we will continue looking into designing strategic programs for employers of choice who will support mid career women on their relaunch journey by offering a paid & full time often 3-6 months internship which helps these mid career women who took an extended break to raise their children or care for elderly family members with a structured program to regain confidence, upskill and work on real projects before they may get hired.
Strategic Alliances with Public and Private Organisations We will continue to partner with more volume partners and work together with other organisations that support our cause. Including global partner organisations and individuals that supports parents in particularly mums, schools, bloggers etc
See attached our Go to Market Strategy Visual: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EqquBVCpoj1Hfljqri-t24Fg9mCodbEm/view?usp=sharing
Business Model B2B and B2C These features will engage with users for paid e-coaching services and also create revenue with our B2B clients. Our pricing model currently include paid packages by our B2B corporate clients for recruitment and marketing. We intend to offer also the Fremium model with possibility for paid upgrade for our end users. Our clients currently include multinational Healthcare, Technology, Finance and Consumer Product companies and more.
”…the encouragement, guidance and support I have received has helped me regain confidence in myself and my skills. I feel empowered and ready to get back on my career track!" Malin Sandbacka, Head of Finance and Business Process Consultant
“…We received only positive feedback from our participants after the session. I and my team would like to thank you once again for the professional and excellent execution and are looking forward to the further cooperation." , Jens Aedtner, Manager Alumni Relations, Mannheim Business School"
"One word to describe the event - INSPIRATIONAL." Christine Baulmann, Board member and MD, Head of EMEA, Fitch Solutions and &ahead Mentor.
7. The value of our solution(s) after the crisis
The idea of &ahead started as we as founders are working parents and know how difficult the stretch between family and career is. Women also have career aspirations and want to achieve their potential through skill development and employment. Through the crisis this challenge became even bigger and we believe that the value of our &ahead platform after the crisis not only for the economy and employers (access to more flexible and agile mid career talents but also for the society with working mums which are valued and their work and family life is being respected, this will lead to an increasing well being of their families (one of the UN sustainable development goals) as well as the rate of females in mid- to senior management roles will increase another SDG - Gender equality we help to achieve. It also helps in sustainable development.