Match-making initiative Puffling launches, aimed at getting job sharing mums back into agencies

The former CEO of digital agency Holler Sydney, Mike Hill, is spearheading a new initiative which will pair recent mothers who want to get back to work in advertising with job share partners and then “hook you up with the agency of your dreams”.

The website, still in Beta mode, is searching for women in advertising who want to go back to work part time

The website, still in Beta mode, is searching for women in advertising who want to go back to work part time

Puffling, an online portal still in Beta, describes its proposition as: “Puffling will help you find your perfect job share partner then hook you up with the agency of your dreams. It’s kinda like match-making, only everyone’s really busy balancing brand guidelines with school runs.”

Women are currently invited to sign up for free by leaving their email and mobile number on the website, after which Puffling will be in contact. From there, Puffling will “find you the perfect partner” by matching candidates with a “couple of potential job sharing partners in your area”. A coffee or wine meeting will follow to see if the matched women “click” before Puffling organises a joint job interview.

Puffling claims it is “currently building an advanced AI machine learning platform to match you with your perfect complimentary [sic] partner”.

Agencies such as M&C Saatchi, Saatchi & Saatchi, Havas Media Group, Cummins & Partners, TBWA and DDB are already working with Puffling, according to the website.

The benefits of the initiative for businesses, according to Puffling are:

  • Double the experience
  • Supporting gender diversity
  • Lower recruitment fees
  • Harnessing the power of mums (“Mums don’t mess about. No long coffee breaks, just super focussed results”)
  • Reduced holiday headaches
  • More qualified candidates

Women who use the service will be able to establish a work/life balance without compromising their career, command a deserved salary, avoid taking a step backwards after maternity leave and build up their confidence, Puffling’s site said.

“We believe that job sharing works in theory, but not in practice. In most instances, job sharers are forced to work with each other out of circumstance, not choice.

“With Puffling, our pairs choose each other. They have chemistry. This ensures a unified pair that has each other’s back to get the job done,” the website adds.

Perhaps anticipating “reverse sexism” backlash, Puffling’s FAQ section says “Everyone relax”.

“This is for everyone. As we are just starting out, our starting point is return-to-work mums before expanding for dads and anyone else looking to go part time in an industry requiring full-time presence”.

Under Puffling’s model, the job-sharing women come as a duo and won’t be judged or treated separately.

Answering the question: How do performance reviews work under this model? Puffling’s website says: “This is something we are trialling with our clients. We believe that Pufflings should be reviewed and remunerated as a pair. If one person isn’t working, the pair isn’t working. This ensures that the pair are100% aligned and everything is transparent from the start.”

The initiative comes 10 months after Hill departed Holler, a business he started a decade ago, saying “it’s time to test myself again” and at a time when the spotlight has been firmly focussed on women’s value within agencies.

Mike Hill

Hill, co-founder of Puffling

In December, Mumbrella reported the results of a survey released by The Agency Circle, which featured 15 creative agencies who came together with the aim of promoting diversity. The survey found 30% of women believed mothers are overlooked for promotions because of perceptions around family commitments.

There is also evidence women coming back to work in advertising after having children return as “devalued employees”.

The Puffling website also flags Hill’s plans to extend the business venture to include women working in law, HR, IT and finance.


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