What is job–sharing?

We define job–sharing as two people jointly undertaking a full time role. It enables:

  • Employers to hire, retain and develop talented and ambitious people who choose to work reduced hours, in senior full time roles. And to offer a seamless service to their clients.

  • Employees to achieve work-life balance while assuming challenging, senior roles and achieving career progression.


There is growing recognition that job–sharing has an important role to play in the future of work.

 
 

Which roles can be shared?

Job-sharing can be applied to most full-time roles, including those at senior levels and those which are client-facing, when the role has been properly designed.

 

Who can job share?

Anyone can share, particularly since the 2014 Flexible Working Legislation.

As well as appealing to mothers wanting to juggle work and family life without sacrificing their career, there is interest from other groups:

  • GenY, who want to combine more roles in a portfolio career
  • Students who want to combine work and study
  • Those with caring responsibilities
  • Those who want to combine work with other interests
  • Parents
 

What are job-sharing work patterns?

Sharers most often divide their time 50:50 over the course of a week. However, it is also possible to alternate weeks, term-time and holidays, and to split days.

 

Are job sharers paid the same?

Job sharers take a pro-rata share of the full time salary, depending upon the hours that they work.

 

How do job sharers handle accountability?

Job sharers can either be jointly accountable for their work, or divide accountability for different elements of the job. Both have been extremely successful, and the most senior levels, including CEO.

 

Why should I job share?

Job sharing enables candidates to combine challenging senior roles and career progression with non-work commitments (childcare, for example).

Job sharing brings tangible additional value to employees:

  • A partnership within which to address the challenges they come up against at work, together; and through their complimentary skills sets find more innovation solutions. Job sharers report that they increase their competence and skills by working together.
  • Continuity: job–sharers know that when they aren’t in work, because it’s not their half of the week, or they are on leave or unwell, they work is expertly covered by partner.
  • Increased engagement and wellbeing: job–sharers are freed from the conflict which comes with trying to make a full time role and other commitments fit together. This, plus the opportunity to undertake the most interesting and challenging roles, means they are more engaged.
  • Enhanced productivity: Job sharers are no longer torn between home and work. Evidence shows that they are able to be more productive during their work hours.
  • A more diverse organisation to work in.

Hear why job-sharing works from people who do it every day in our blog series: "job-sharing - what works".

 

Why should I employ a job share pair?

Job-sharing enables employers to attract and retain talent:

  • Attracting talent is critical to success in the global market place.
  • The most interesting and challenging roles can only be done full-time.
  • But increasing numbers of skilled and knowledgeable people choose to work part-time.

Job-sharing resolves this tension. It is a valuable route to retaining senior staff with high replacement costs, and to develop a pipeline of future leaders.

Beyond addressing the talent brain drain, job–sharing brings tangible additional value to employers:

  • Two smart minds rather than just one, working together to find more innovative solutions.
  • Improved levels of client service, facilitated by increased productivity and higher quality outputs.
  • A significant reduction in managerial time, energy and input.
  • Greater diversity at every level of their organisation. There is strong evidence that a diverse workforce has a positive impact on the bottom line.
  • Greater business continuity; so that when one of the job-sharers is on leave, or ill for example, the other half of the week is still covered.
  • More engaged, and happier, employees.

Read more about the how job-sharing gives employers an important commercial edge.

 

Won’t it cost more to employ a job share pair?

It is best practice to have some overlap time – between a half and a full day – so there are some slightly higher costs of which to take account. However, these are more than balanced by both:

Significant savings:

  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Reduced management input


Increased productivity

  • The realisation of earlier investments in staff training and development.


We support employers to develop a business plan to set out the cost-benefit analysis and get buy-in across the business.

There are examples of successful job shares where the handover is remote – via Skype, phone or email.

 

Won’t job–sharing demand more of managers?

Job share pairs need less managerial input, as they co-coach one another, resolving challenges together and learning from one another.

This is at its best when the pair have complimentary skills, and a common approach to sharing.

Our matching process enables employees to form job–share pairs according to their skillsets; and our coaching offer has been designed to establish the job share on an excellent footing, and ensure it fulfils its potential from day one.

 
 

What happens if one of the job sharers has performance issues?

As with any full time employee, occasionally performance issues happen.

Discussions pertaining to the performance of one of the job share pair should always be held in private.

If performance issues cannot be resolved, as the sharers have separate contracts, one of the job–sharers’ employment can be terminated.

 

What happens at performance assessments?

Job sharers can decide to be assessed jointly or separately. This is one of the variables agreed in our coaching sessions.

We recommend that competence and delivery objectives are decoupled. Competence objectives cannot be shared, but delivery objectives can be shared or individual.

Performance assessments should be taken separately for individual objectives; shared objectives should be considered in joint performance assessments.

If they choose to be assessed jointly, then any performance related pay must be distributed according to their working pattern; if they choose to be assessed separately, then the employer can decide to award just one of the pair, or different sums to each.

 

Are job share pairs eligible for promotion?

Job share pairs can apply for promotion on an individually or as a partnership. There are many examples of job–sharers achieving promotion as a unit.

If only one partner is offered the job on promotion, this would lead to the partnership ending.

 

What happens if one job sharer wants to leave?

As with any full time employee, sometimes staff decide to move on. As each member of the pair is on a separate contract, this does not end the employment of the remaining sharer: instead, the other half of the partnership is replaced.

In contrast to the departure of a full time employee, if one of the job–sharers leaves, the role is still covered for half of the time by the remaining job–sharer meaning employers and clients are not left hanging.