Employment platform DCC Jobs has raised $1 million in seed funding and rebranded to WORK180 as it continues on its mission to connect women with roles at organisations with a focus on gender equality.
Led by Scott Farquhar’s Skip Capital, the seed round also included funding from Thomas Rice, the cofounders of Lux Group, and accelerator Startmate, and will go towards the startup’s international expansion, with WORK180 to launch in the UK tomorrow.
Gemma Lloyd, cofounder and co-CEO of WORK180, said, “Over the last three years we have flipped the traditional jobs board model on its head whereby the employers are the ones that are being screened.
“The investment will help us accelerate the growth of the team and extend our focus on ensuring women globally are able to get the work conditions that enables them to thrive, and employers to prosper with the best possible employees.”
Founded by Lloyd and Valeria Ignatieva as Diverse City Careers in 2015, the startup launched a jobs board that filters listings to accept only those that have policies or programs in place to support women, with DCC clients going through a screening process before they are accepted.
The idea, Lloyd previously told Startup Daily, came from the cofounders’ own experiences in the workforce.
“I didn’t always have the same confidence as I do today. I will always remember my first corporate job, where male colleagues asked me to get them stationary and coffees. They were in the same role as me, but I was treated like their assistant. I’m surprised at just how prevalent this behaviour is and want to help other women overcome similar experiences,” she said.
With the business now counting the likes of Atlassian, Microsoft, and Commonwealth Bank as clients, the WORK180 screening process takes companies through 20 criteria including pay equity, flexible working, women in leadership, and paid parental leave.
“Of those companies we pre-screen that do not meet our criteria, 80 percent will re-apply after they have improved workplace conditions to pass WORK180’s standard,” Lloyd said.
“WORK180 raises the benchmark for workplace conditions to the benefit of all staff, as the policies we screen for are required to be gender neutral.”
Kim Jackson, principal of Skip Capital, said, “We are excited to back these phenomenal entrepreneurs who have created a great business and are setting the standard in gender equality.”
The funding comes as reports show more must be done to turn conversations around diversity in the workplace – and ensure it is intersectional – into real action.
The recently released 2018 State of Diversity and Inclusion in US Tech report, commissioned by Atlassian, found much of the tech industry is not actually making significant progress towards building balanced teams.
Though 80 percent of respondents surveyed agreed diversity and inclusion (D&I) is important, more than 40 percent believe their company’s inclusion of people from underrepresented groups does not need improvement.
What’s more, individual participation in D&I initiatives, from taking part in a diversity working group to taking the time to learn about the experiences of colleagues different from oneself, has fallen 50 percent.
The report highlighted three primary reasons why individuals are opting out: they may have diversity fatigue, and lack the energy and resources to stay committed when progress is slow or non-existent; they may feel the conversation is focused on increasing representation of a narrowly-defined category of ‘diverse’ candidates rather than boosting belonging and inclusion throughout the company; and they may feel overwhelmed by the scope of issues that fall under the D&I umbrella.
WORK180’s work is cut out for it; with its seed funding in hand, Lloyd said the startup will look to “continue to flip the traditional jobs model around” and champion its efforts on “an entirely new scale”.
Image: Valeria Ignatieva and Gemma Lloyd. Source: Supplied.