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Is job-sharing the future of senior roles?

14 / 08 / 2017
Is job-sharing the future of senior roles?Flexible working has long been popular among British employees.

January research from the CV-Library found that flexible working is the most desirable employment benefit, with 47.2 per cent of staff wanting their bosses to offer this perk. 

Our own research into corporate governance recruitment has shown a notable rise in the proportion of candidates who want more choice over when, where and how they work. In fact, 75 per cent of compliance professionals in our latest report said they desired more flexible working opportunities.

Yet, job-sharing - where two part-time workers perform the role of a single full-time employee - remains a relatively uncommon practice in the UK. But is this about to change?

Job-shares becoming more popular for senior positions

A recent survey from Timewise showed that a growing number of employers are weighing up the pros and cons of job-sharing for senior positions. In fact, 46 per cent of hiring managers said they would be willing to recruit candidates as part of a job-share arrangement for high-profile vacancies.  

Notable job-shares are already occurring at large UK organisations, including the Ministry of Defence, the Guardian newspaper, Lloyds Banking Group and the Green Party.

The figures revealed 773,000 people are formally working part-time in a higher pay bracket - up 5.7 per cent in just 12 months.  

"In an increasingly competitive market for top talent, organisations need to be more creative with their hiring and retention strategies," said Lynn Rattigan, chief operating officer at EY, UK and Ireland.

According to Timewise, approximately one-quarter of all staff are working part-time hours, with 86 per cent of these claiming they do so because of responsibilities outside employment.

Part-time work on the rise

Recent data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown a notable rise in part-time work.

The REC said many businesses are turning to temporary staff in an effort to fill key skills shortages in the permanent worker market. A sizeable 87 per cent said they aimed to increase or maintain current hiring levels of part-timers over the next three months.

Furthermore, organisations typically shift 24 per cent of their temporary workers to full-time positions each year.

"The pool of people without a job is shrinking, and the number of people deciding to switch jobs isn't rising as much as we'd expect," said Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC.

"Employers are improving starting salaries to attract candidates, but even with this incentive people are unsure about taking new jobs at a time of economic uncertainty."

Job-sharing: the pros and cons

As skills shortages become more prominent in the UK, a growing number of businesses may consider job-shares for senior positions. But what are the pros and cons of these arrangements for employers and staff?

  • Organisations can hold on to employees that may otherwise leave due to work-life balance issues;
  • Businesses benefit from the skillsets, opinions and creativity of two people;
  • Employees are allowed more flexibility, which can boost morale, job satisfaction and loyalty to the firm; and
  • Job-share candidates are often accountable to each other, improving productivity and friendly competition.
  • Employees in job-shares must be compatible - bad partnerships create tension between the pair and management difficulties for employers;
  • Accountability can become a problem if the two workers don't communicate effectively;
  • Workloads need to be split equally, which can be difficult. If one partner is doing more work, it may breed resentment;
  • Costs can be higher for employers in terms of administration, benefits and salaries.
Organisations and candidates must consider both the good and bad elements of job-share positions before taking the plunge.

Job-shares where workers complement each other can be the ideal solution for a workplace that promotes flexibility, but difficulties can arise if the employees don't gel, particularly in senior roles.

At Barclay Simpson, we're confident we can find the right temporary or permanent solution for you, whether you're an organisation looking to fill a crucial role or a candidate searching for the next career opportunity.

Contact us today for more information. 

Our 2017 Market Reports combine our review of the prevailing conditions in the corporate governance recruitment market together with the results of our latest employer survey.

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