Job sharing means you can have it all.
We’re in 2017 and the dilemma of having to choose between a career and a family still exists. Ugh.
But if you don’t want to leave the job you love, and crave an extra day or two a week with your children, there are ways to make it work.
Step in the idea of job sharing – the saviour of the working parent, the person who wants to fade into retirement, or simply someone who wants a portfolio career.
The idea is simple: you share a full-time role between two people who take full ownership of the job together.
You apply as a pair, you have a shared CV and interview, and you get the job as a partnership.
The Guardian’s political editors are doing it, the HR directors at Lloyds Bank, and even the Green Party leaders are all doing it.
But somehow it’s still not a mainstream option – as Ginibee founder and mother of two, Sara Horsfall, found out when she tried to cut down to three days a week.
“Job sharing was the obvious solution. But if you were someone looking for a job share, there just wasn’t anything,” Sara said.
So she set it up herself, launching Ginibee last year and making it her mission “to make job sharing accessible, accepted, and the norm”.
So if you like the sound of job sharing, how do you even find out if someone’s interested in partnering up?
Just like dating apps show you who’s single, Ginibee is a place to meet those open to sharing a role, where you can find matches based on your level and skill set.
Organising a job share is every HR person’s nightmare, but being able to find a suitable partner, and present it back to HR as a nicely wrapped package takes the headache away.
Already some of the biggest businesses are welcoming the concept.
Barclays, B&Q, and Transport for London are some of the 10 companies who’ve introduced job share schemes in the past two years.
And the Civil Service is one of job sharing’s biggest cheerleaders. Why?
“Because there are significant business benefits in productivity, in creativity, and it’s a very supportive way of working,” Sara said.
Job shares go right up to chief executive level and one partnership Sara came across had been going for 23 years
It might seem odd to share your work, but working with someone else can generate a new perspective and ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise have had.
“All we’re doing is continuing that idea into the work life, instead of creating a workplace that is individualistic, where it’s all ‘mine mine mine’,” Sara said.
Culturally, it’s still mainly women who have to make that huge choice between having a family and their career.
“But for women in senior roles who would otherwise have left, it’s a great solution to keep them with the company,” Sara admits.
And now, even male-dominated industries are beginning to see why they should jump on the job sharing wagon.
Automotive companies are introducing intergenerational job shares for their almost-pension aged employees who want to scale back a little before they retire.
“It’s the ideal succession plan – you have that knowledge transfer over a longer period of time,” Sara said.
As more businesses begin to open up to the idea, Sara predicts the recruitment process will change.
“We can see the change happening, and I hope in the future employers and recruiters will get a mix of individual and shared CVs for any full-time role.”
Anna joined The Memo as an editorial intern and is now a freelance contributor. She’s already been featured in The Sunday Times & The Telegraph. Watch this space. Follow her on Twitter @annaschav.