Top Five Misconceptions About Job Sharing

January 31, 2017 in Jobs-Shared

All roles flex jobs shared blogJob sharing is one of the best flexible work options out there, providing full-time coverage for the employer, while allowing the employee to actually work part-time because someone else is doing their job when they’re not there. It’s win-win, but despite the many benefits, it’s still not commonplace, and I believe it’s because there are a lot of misconceptions around job sharing. So let’s look at the ones I hear the most.


1. Job sharing is for mums returning to work

One of the most annoying assumptions made about job sharing is that it’s for mums. Firstly, it’s not just parents who may want flexible work, second, job sharing is not just about flexible work, and third, in many cases, there are two parents, and I would love to see more employers assuming that both parents would like flexibility rather than just the mum, because in a lot of cases both parents really do want flexibility. Here are some other people who would really benefit from job sharing arrangements:

  1. Anyone with caring responsibilities
  2. People nearing retirement
  3. Athletes
  4. People with disabilities
  5. People looking for more balance in their life

2. Job sharing means working part-time

There are a lot of ways to split a job, and it doesn’t always have to be two people working three days. I know of someone who takes one day off a week so that he can do the school drop off, pick up and after school sports duties (not to mention the shopping and the cleaning). He assigns his second in charge to look after his role for that one day each week. Only that person can contact him on his day off, and because it’s been such a successful arrangement, there have already been promotions for the second in charge due to the increase in responsibility, and exposure to the right people. Again, win-win and not about working a three-day week!


3. Job sharing is just for people wanting to work flexibly

While in my humble and biased opinion job sharing is the best flexible work option, it doesn’t have to be about working less. Savvy employers are using job sharing to cross-train their staff and for succession planning. It opens up countless ways for employees to learn new skills and understand how the business runs outside of their department by simply job sharing with another person from a different area in the business. It makes for more rounded and happier employees, which obviously is going to help with productivity.


4. Job sharers cost more to employ

This is a big deal breaker for a lot of employers as the most common job share arrangements are two people working three days a week so there is a cross-over day. Which means paying 120 percent rather than 100 percent for a full timer. Firstly, if you speak to any manager of a successful job share team they’ll tell you that they get more than 120 percent productivity out of their job share team. You get coverage all year round, when one job share partner is on annual leave, you still get part-time coverage which is more than you get from a full-time employee. Most jobs have a pay scale, so if it really is an issue you can always have a trial period where the combined salary doesn’t exceed the maximum salary. And if one job share partner leaves, don’t worry, you’re better off than if a full-time member leaves because you still have someone covering part-time and stakeholders still have continuity with the remaining job share partner.


5. Job share partners must be on the same pay scale for it to work

As mentioned above, job sharing can take on many different forms, so it doesn’t always have to be two people on the same pay scale. Generally, both job share partners are employed with separate contracts, as individual staff members and with individual performance management targets, so different pay scales can work. Just make sure if you’re an employer you’re treating them equally!


According to the ABS baby boomers account for 40% of all employed people aged 15 years and over, and 85% of all employed people aged 45 years and over, many of whom want to transition to retirement. Which means we also have a population of people who may find themselves looking after elderly parents in the not so distant future. Add to this the growing importance being placed on mindfulness and happiness, it’s time to re-think the traditional work structure and start adapting to our changing lifestyles. So, young, old, male, female, parent, single whatever your status, job sharing can work for you. It can fill a need for flexibility when you need it most, it can offer you a more fulfilling career path offering you skills in areas you thought you didn’t have access to. It can help you wind down into retirement while still offering you stimulating work. And for companies, it can be one of the best sources of staff retention you have, without costing much at all.


If you want to know more about job sharing and how it can work for you personally or your business get in touch at