Job sharing sounds great, but could it work at executive level….

Article written by Rachel Maguire (Co-Founder of The Job Share Pair –

Job sharing is a hugely misunderstood working practice, and is certainly a rarity in the real estate sector.  The unknown.  Let us help with that…In simple terms, job sharing is the undertaking of a full-time role, carried out by two (or more) people. Typically one partner works the first part of the week (Mon-Weds) and the other the latter part (Weds-Fri). Job sharing is not the same as part time work, where the needs of the business are on hold for a couple of days. Job sharing enables full time (plus some) coverage to dedicate to the needs of a high volume, fast paced, intellectually demanding and challenging role. It is favoured by many in senior positions who would struggle to achieve the needs of a position, alone, in 5 days. 

What are the benefits?

The benefits are more obvious to those undertaking a job share. You achieve true work life balance and a forced separation from work on your days off. Your opportunity to burnout is far reduced in line with this. You continue to learn and develop within your unique microteam and you are able to maintain a stretching career in a high impact role. 

So many find they are at a point in their lives where flexibility is a must. Perhaps due to childcare, eldercare, health needs or (our favourite!) those who are wanting to fire on all cylinders in every aspect of life, ambitious career people who also have hobbies, finding joy outside of work, looking after themselves in the process, able to commit to work on their dedicated days with a clear head and a refreshed attitude. 

And for business? What’s in it for us?

There is a broad untapped pool of talent out there seeking out flexible ways of working. By offering flexibility you attract and retain key talent who may not be in a position (or have the inclination) to work the classic, outdated, 40 hour working week. Organisations are short sighted not to consider the cost implications of recruiting new talent, upskilling and the cost of lost productivity if individuals reach the point of burnout and flexible working options aren’t considered. By encouraging job sharing, businesses benefit from two minds, two sets of skills and experiences, two problem solvers and two networks in one role. There is no Wednesday hump day or Friday lull – a job sharer has 2 or 3 days to achieve, self manage and report back their productivity to their partner. What you gain as an organisation is motivated, productive loyal employees, committed to the success of your business goals. 

But can you really job share a senior role?

Job sharing is not just for administrative, junior level roles without team responsibility. Here are some case studies to illustrate the point. 

  • Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley job share the role of Leader of the Green Party (Caroline Lucas job shared prior to this term and was succeeded by Sian Berry)
  • Hilary Cross and Lynda Thomas – CEO of Macmillan Lead a team of over 1,700 staff
  • Sam White and Will McDonald hold the position of Group Sustainability and Public Policy Director at Aviva, the most senior male UK job share couple 
  • Mark Brown and Reuben Thorne – Co-Coached the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU) for the 2020 season of the Mitre 10 Cup
  • Lisa Tye and Kathryn Jump, who share the role of National Head of the Planning Team at Shoosmiths LLP – leading a team of 16 they have a fee target of £4 million per annum

Still not convinced?

  • Job sharers are 30% more productive than other types of working arrangements (Forbes Research 2019)
  • 87% said that job sharing meant the difference between staying with a company or leaving (The Job Share Project Research Paper)
  • 87% of UK employees want some form of flexibility (2019 figures pre-Covid : Timewise Flexible Jobs Index) 

As Sophie Smallwood (co-founder of fantastic job share matching website so brilliantly identifies, doctors, nurses, consultants, midwives job share job share, handing over to one another at numerous points in the day and week. If our lives are in their hands and they can do it, surely we can too.  

How we can help you

Job sharing means change. A change to the way that you have operated previously and a change to the business. In times of change we need to plan. What are the practicalities? What does the day to day look like? Who will lead on what? How will we handover? How do we manage performance? How do you ensure that you have coverage across all work and client interactions? The list of unknowns is endless. At The Job Share Pair, we demystify the nuts and bolts of job sharing and provide you with all the tools you need to make it work. Having worked as job sharers ourselves at Board level as HR Directors, we understand the day to day logistics of how to manage this transition, plan for various eventualities and set your job share partnership and business up for success. Our mission and passion is to make job sharing accessible for all. We hope that this introduction to job sharing has opened your eyes to considering its multiple benefits to business, clients, individuals and our communities. 

Still have more questions on job sharing, please contact Hannah and Rachel –

If you want to explore how to hire a job pair at executive level, please contact us –

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