This report proposes a new model for job sharing that seeks to increase gender equality in the workforce, with a particular focus on senior levels of management. It reimagines traditional, horizontal job sharing arrangements and unlocks leadership potential by allowing for a more flexible division of responsibility and working hours between professionals at different stages of their careers, often with the allocation of responsibility for the job share arrangement to one “senior” job share partner.
This approach draws on three distinct modes of flexibility that can be used alone or in combination with other modes:
- Inter-generational sharing - Sharing between employees at different stages of their career, to form a partnership between a senior and mid-career professional. This enables the senior partner to reduce their workload and for the junior partner to develop their skills and experience.
- Flexible time-based sharing - Allocation of working hours in the job sharing arrangement according to the circumstances of the partnership, not based on a traditional division of working days, with the hours ranging from 20-80 per cent to 50-50 per cent split. This provides both partners with more flexibility than fixed calendar-based model.
- Vertical sharing - Division of responsibility for the overall relationship resting with one “senior” job share partner. As opposed to a more traditional ‘horizontal’ model of dividing responsibilities, certain ‘senior’ decision-making is vested in one partner.
Non-traditional job sharing is just one of the many ways in which organisations can implement flexible working arrangements. By re-imagining traditional ‘horizontal’ job sharing, non-traditional job sharing aims to create true flexibility in an important model of flexible work, and make it fit for purpose at the most senior management and leadership levels.
It also aims to promote male-male and male-female job sharing partnerships. This reframes job sharing as a flexible working arrangement that is available to both women and men, and provides a path by which junior and mid-career women can advance to mid-level and senior management roles whilst accommodating non-work responsibilities.