Unbeknown to me, ‘work sabbaticals’ are increasingly becoming a thing, whereby skilled employees are given sanctioned leave to travel and work for somebody else. Or so says Karoli Hindriks, co-founder and CEO of Jobbatical. The Estonian startup operates what it calls a marketplace for ‘short-term jobs with life-changing experiences’, matching those who wish to take a work sabbatical with employers seeking potentially short-term but skilled hires.
Citing the company’s own research, Hindriks says that 74 per cent of professionals would like to take this type of career break and and that nearly two thirds are planning to do so.
(In fact, in her original pitch, the Jobbatical CEO tried to convince me that I had done just that when I left journalism to ‘do a startup’, only to return a year later after I’d failed to change
my the world.)
Specifically, the problem that Jobbatical is aiming to the solve is that, according to Hindriks, there’s no easy way for employees to find short term professional gigs focusing on what she calls a “full on-board experience”. Likewise, for employers, there’s no easy way to find talent for short term gigs.
“There are employers looking for experienced professionals for short term hires, and individuals either working as freelancers or just seeking a working sabbatical to use and develop their skills and interests. There is a demand and supply for short-term hiring, but no platform to do the matchmaking,” she says, adding that four out of ten companies in the UK and close to three out of ten in the U.S. allow sabbatical breaks for their employees.
The Tallinn-based startup has also just closed a €260k seed round led by Estonian tax payer-funded VC SmartCap, along with early-stage investors Joakim Karske, Christopher Sier, Janis Rancans, Trind Investments, ImCap Finland, and Camelus Invest.