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What is job sharing?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 20 Jan 2023

Sharing a job image

If you’re currently looking for part-time roles, have you considered job sharing? Job sharing is another form of part-time work, perfect for people looking for reduced hours. If you already have a full-time role, you might even have the opportunity to turn your current job into a job share. It’s something some companies do to help their employees and retain talent. So, what is a job share and why should you consider it? You may have never heard of this before, which is why we explain it all in this article. 

What does job sharing mean?

Simply put, a job share is where two or more employees take one full-time job and divide it between them. If there are a certain number of hours needed to fulfil a role, the 2 employees will have that time divided between them. 

It’s usually possible to share any kind of job. It’s likely that both the hours and the workload will be split between the employees, although, depending on circumstances, this may not always be an even divide. 

Things like pay, benefits and annual leave are usually given on a pro rata basis, but this aspect of a job share is down to the employer. It’s important to know that if you do job share, it’s likely that there will be a decrease in pay and annual leave, but this is usually discussed and agreed upon between the employee and employer. 

Why should I consider a job share?

Like any type of role, there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to job sharing there can be a number of pros that may lead you down this career route.

Work life balance – Being able to work part-time hours in a sector you want to learn and grow in can be very important for many people. Sometimes, the job we want just can’t provide us with the time we need to fulfil other life commitments. Work isn’t simply 9-5 hours anymore and this means people are able to take care of their children, work another part-time job and even travel on the side. 

You get extra support – Sometimes the pressure of a job can be too much, but when you have someone working with you, doing the same job, this can help relieve some of that stress. There are still going to be difficult times and moments when workload is heavy but being able to have someone for support can be very important. 

You have someone to learn from – Just because you technically have the same job, doesn’t mean you have the same strengths and skills. In fact, job sharing is great when you have things you want to learn. Your job share partner can offer experience, insight, and creative learning opportunities. 

The workload is shared – When you work alone, even as part of a team, workload can feel massive at times. When you are part of a job share, you help each other. It’s not a case of two part-time workers doing a part-time job each. All parties are committed to the job as a whole, you are completing the whole job together, not separating it into two or more roles. 

Why are more employers considering job share opportunities?

Job sharing isn’t just an opportunity for the employees, but a big one for companies. If they are giving more people access to roles within their business, they are able to retain and gain more talent from the job seeker market. Just because they enter a job share, doesn’t mean they will stay there forever. By making work accessible to people of all backgrounds and experiences, they are helping themselves in the long run. 

More often than not, there are also limited holiday gaps when a role is shared. If one person is on annual leave, it’s not likely the other employee will be. The role is likely to be covered all year round and can really help other employees in the business. Not leaving them to pick up slack and work overtime when someone is away. 

How do I get a job share for my current role?

Like everything else, it’s always best to ask your line manager to begin with. They should be the one finding answers and trying to help you as best they can. However, sometimes they just won’t have a solution. Make sure they are aware of what you are looking for before going to your employer's HR team and asking them. Always best to let them know before asking questions and making big decisions. 

If it’s not already written in company policy or your contract, HR will be able to answer any questions you have. If they are unable to help and this is what you want from a role, it might be time to start your job search. 

How do I look for job share roles?

When job seeking, make sure to use keywords when searching online. In job seeking websites, make sure you are using the correct filters and reading descriptions properly before applying. Just because you searched ‘job share’ and ‘part-time’ doesn’t actually mean they will be. Employers use top searches to appear no matter what, so make sure you are checking this. 

When using company websites, they should list if a role is part-time but it’s not often, they include job share information. So, just ask! Sometimes, maternity cover can turn into a job share, so this can be something you ask before or during an interview.

Job sharing can be important to different people for various reasons, but overall, it’s a great way to get the job you want without having to commit to full-time hours. Ways of working are changing and if it’s important to you, you should start embracing these changes. It’s only going to help you going forward in your career, so why not! If you’re currently in a job you would prefer to keep, make sure you ask your current employer as well. Even if it turns out to be unsuccessful, there are always other options they may be able to offer.