Why isn’t job sharing more common? That is a question I have asked myself and others many times over the past few years and one which ultimately led to the creation of the Flex Frontier. The answer is not clear cut, but a few common explanations are: 1) the traditional workforce is not set up to support job share arrangements, 2) employers are hesitant to tackle the administrative obstacles they see in supporting job shares, and 3) it takes effort to find and maintain an effective job share partner.
That said, job sharing is an incredibly promising, flexible, work option that should be seriously considered by more employees seeking work flexibility and employers concerned about retaining and promoting highly qualified talent. It is a common practice in the health care industry and the teaching profession, but not so in the predominant corporate culture or even the non-profit and public sectors. But we believe that the more job sharing is discussed and pursued, the easier and more common it will become to implement. A primary goal in developing this website is to encourage job sharing as a flexible option, facilitate the pairing of prospective job sharers, and to offer the resources and support to help job sharers and employers break through the barriers which have limited this practice to date.
Some benefits of job sharing:
- Keeps highly skilled professionals in senior roles – benefiting their career trajectories and the companies they work for.
- Two brains for the price of one – job sharers generate more creativity, efficiency, and loyalty.
- A built-in backup to keep things afloat when you have to miss work due to illness.
- The ability to structure your job to suit the flexibility you are seeking.
- Allows professionals to carve out the time to pursue a degree, care for a family member, or explore an entrepreneurial project while remaining engaged in the workforce.
What is job sharing?
A job share is when two individuals split the responsibilities for one job. Each job share is unique to the position, the employer, and the professionals sharing the role. It can be divided in multiple ways. Examples are: a 50/50 split doing the same job in equal portions or a 60/40 or 70/30 split where responsibilities are divvied up accordingly. Employees may split one workday or work different days of the week. It can be structured in whatever way works for the job sharers, the employer, and the role itself.
Is job sharing for you?
A job share arrangement is not for everyone. Ask yourself some of these questions and if you respond “no” to most of them, a job share arrangement may not be the best fit for you:
- Would I be OK sharing my job title and accomplishments with another person?
- Do I have good communication skills?
- Am I organized?
- Am I willing to put in extra administrative effort in exchange for the flexibility a job share affords?
- If necessary, am I willing to forgo some of my employee benefits in order to split the role with another person?
How do I get involved in a job share?
If you are looking to convert a current full time role to a job share or to apply for a new position as a job share partnership, here are some suggested steps:
- Spend time thinking through your ideal share arrangement (i.e. days you would work, responsibilities you would shift)
- Use our Share Board or your professional network to find a suitable job share partner.
- Interview potential partners to assess compatibility
- Create a business case for your proposed job share arrangement and/or a joint job application to positions with external companies.
- Present your case to your current employer and/or jointly apply for jobs.
Job sharing resources
Work Muse is a job share solutions firm in the United States. Work Muse can help HR professionals create a work environment that leverages job sharing to attract and retain top talent and increase productivity and engagement. Work Muse can also help individuals successfully enter the world of job sharing.
FamilyFriendlyWork’s “Free Guide and Template for Requesting Flexibility”
Mission Job Share’s “10 Keys to Job Share Success”
The Job Share Project is a United Kingdom-based group of business leaders and talent practitioners with an interest in in exploring the feasibility of job sharing as a commercially viable solution to enable part-time working in business-critical roles in global fast paced organizations.