How HerKey is empowering Indian women to join and excel in workforce
The career engagement startup has raised $4 million in a funding round led by Kalaari, 360 ONE Asset, and angel investors.
Wednesday April 26, 2023,
3 min Read
HerKey, formerly JobsForHer, has transformed into a full-spectrum career engagement platform that unlocks job opportunities, learning, and access to workforce communities for women in India.
While initially focused on enabling women to restart their careers after a break, the company has grown to help women to get back into the workforce and enable growth in their careers.
The startup has raised a $4 million funding round from Kalaari Capital, 360 ONE Asset (earlier known as IIFL Asset Management), and angel investors, including Zia Mody, Puneet Dalmia, Pramit Jhaveri, Aditi and Shuchi Kothari, KP Balaraj, Ranjan Pai, Neeraj Bajaj, Akash Bhansali, and others.
The platform seeks to address the gender gap in the Indian workforce, where only 29.4% of women participate in the labour force, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey, 2022, compared to 60% in China and 55% in the United States.
In an interview with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, Neha Bagaria, Founder and CEO of HerKey, explains how HerKey aims to bring more women into the workforce.
Quoting a McKinsey report, Neha says India can increase its GDP annually by $2.9 trillion if the gender gap is bridged. She feels there are three main focus areas when it comes to women's participation in India:
- Women returnees: About 50% of women who start working in India need to take a break within three years due to child or family care. But the leave also poses a big challenge for women to return to their careers.
- Women in tech: No industry has remained undisrupted by tech. So, it is important to upskill women in the latest technologies so they can be part of this whole movement towards tech.
- The third big area is getting more women at leadership levels.
"There's a lot of change that we need to do in workplace policies, systems, and ecosystems, to be able to drive these changes," says Neha.
HerKey today has three and a half million women on its platform, over 10,000 companies, and over 800 re-skilling partners.
"I think we should work hand in hand with policymakers and government bodies to also have India lead in statistics of how women can be effective in the workforce," Vani Kola, Founder and Managing Director of Kalaari Capital, notes.
Speaking on empowering the women workforce, Nidhi Ghuman, Senior EVP, 360 ONE Asset, asserts it is necessary to be more inclusive of women, whether in the engineering colleges, B-schools or the workforce.
"A conscious effort has to be made to draw out women and give them the support and the opportunities to succeed in their careers," she says.
Secondly, she adds, it is important to work towards reducing taboos around issues unique to women, such as taking leave for children or taking menstrual leave, and create a workplace where women feel comfortable working.
Also, it is important to give flexibility and support to enable women to learn, network, and seek out career opportunities.
Speaking about the recent fundraise, Neha says that the company plans to utilise the capital to scale with an aim to power 30 million women's careers in India in the next five years.
Edited by Kanishk Singh