Job-sharing is of vital importance for candidates and employers. It allows candidates to combine big, challenging roles and an ambitious career trajectory with reduced hours. And it allows employers to attract and retain talent, while offering an improved and seamless service to clients.
The first seed of Further&More was planted at about 10:30pm on a foggy December Tuesday 2014.
Somewhere amidst the fug of crazy deadlines, a bruising inbox, and acute guilt of failing to balance home and parenting and marriage andfriendships and a meaningful career, was an indignant cry.
“Work doesn’t have to be like this.”
This refrain echoes on parenting chat boards, and over snatched playgroup coffees. Feelings of self-reproach and failure and anxiety; the desire to achieve; and the frustration of being unable to.
What I felt wasn’t simply a desire to ‘have it all’ – although I do want all the parts of a rich life. I felt the roles I was juggling were complementary: parenting teaches me skills which have real value at work (and vice versa). It’s illogical that we don’t build this into our approach to work.
Part-time doesn’t work
Many big, challenging roles don’t allow us to combine work and parenting. They don’t work part time.
Consequently many women work full time and feel trapped (i). Some cover a full time role in compressed hours, taking a call while their baby bangs them on the head with a hairbrush (maybe that is just me). Others downgrade to less senior, part-time roles (ii). And there are those who leave work altogether (iii).
This attrition of women from senior roles is a huge problem.
So how can we address it?
Job-sharing offers employees the fabled work-life balance. It means they can combine big challenging roles with genuinely part-time hours.
It is also a fantastic way to work.
My job share was the most rewarding time in my work career. Not only because of the balance it offered – but because it was enriching and engaging. My pair was brilliant at all the things I’m not very good at (and truthfully don’t like doing very much). I learned – her skills, her approach, how she tackles challenges – and she learned too. Together we strategized and solved problems together; and the solutions were all the better for it. I felt less isolated: I was stronger and braver.
There are huge benefits for employers, around diversity and innovation and productivity and continuity. It saves money, and improves the bottom line. We’ll explore this in future posts.
But for now, let’s be clear: job-sharing is a win-win. It should be business as usual.
This is why we started F&M.
So… get involved
Let’s make work… work.
(i) 67% of all mothers would ideally forego full-time work in favor of working part-time. Pew Research Centre
(ii) Over 20% of professional women downgrade, half of them moving to low-skill jobs – women from managerial positions are particularly badly affected. Institute for the Study of Labour
(iii) 37% of professional women will drop out at some point in their careers, either to look after children or ailing parents. Profession Hewlett, work and gender specialist