Job Sharing: Supporting Women in Tech

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a demand for organisations to become more agile and introduce flexible means of working; from allowing work from home and flexible hours, to job sharing to accommodate people’s new found sense of ownership over their work/life balance.

While working from home and flexible hours have received vast coverage, job sharing is still less widely discussed. Most often, job sharing takes the form of two employees sharing the responsibilities of one full time role while working alternative days or with limited cross over.

Job sharing has been praised for enabling individuals to take on some of the responsibilities of full-time work without the demand of full-time hours. It has enabled flexibility and improved employee satisfaction, in turn reducing staff turnover; perhaps a strategy which should be more openly considered in the age of the great resignation. According to the Job Share Project, 87% of job sharers said the ability to job share meant the difference between staying with a company and leaving.

Job Sharing – the Benefits for Women in Tech

While statistics about the number of people working a job share are inconsistent and poorly reported, there is evidence that suggests job shares are becoming more popular, and the benefits of such can be vast for women in tech.

Women in tech are still a minority within the male dominated sector, with around one in five tech roles filled by women. For leadership positions, this figure is even lower at just 5%. It has been reported that flexibility and creating better opportunities for women in tech could help to close the gender gap, therefore creating job share opportunities may be one method of increasing diversity within an organisation.

One factor driving the need for job sharing is parental duties and childcare responsibilities. Women traditionally manage the majority of childcare while a male partner returns to work more quickly due to the standard maternity/paternity leave timescales.

Following maternity and paternity leave, parents must put in place sufficient childcare to cover working hours. This can be costly and/ or demanding of family members, and often women consider part-time employment or do not return to work to reduce this demand.

A job share, similar to part-time work, enables women to return to the workplace for fewer hours than a full-time role demands, but maintains the level of responsibility, allowing two people to have more control over their work schedule.

Job Sharing – the Benefits for Organisations

Organisations could opt for a male/ female job share to improve diversity and variety of thought. An organisation can benefit from having two points of view, influence and a wider talent pool driving decisions; so long as decisions can be made amicably. With two people taking on the responsibilities of one role, there is opportunity for increasing productivity and efficiency.

Making it Work

Clear communication and structure will be key to job sharers success. Ensuring employees know who is responsible for which aspects of the business will prevent any confusion. Opting for two people who have a mutual sense of respect and trust, can offer complimentary skills and experience and who are open to having their views or decisions challenged for the long term gain of the company will be crucial for success.

As people continue to demand more opportunities for women in tech, job sharing may be a strategy which can be utilised to enable women to fill tech positions. Organisations who embrace new methods of working and strategies for creating a happy workforce, are likely to be front of mind for women looking to pursue a career in the tech industry.

For more advice on job-sharing opportunities, contact [email protected] for a conversation.

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