Growth in job shar­ing

Se­nior staff in­creas­ingly are shar­ing their jobs to re­main at the top end of the cor­po­rate lad­der while gain­ing flex­i­bil­ity, Aaron MacDonald re­ports.

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WORK­ERS are suc­cess­fully shar­ing se­nior jobs to gain flex­i­ble work­ing hours and en­sure their ex­pe­ri­ence is not lost from the work­force.

Job shar­ing al­lows two em­ploy­ees to work part-time at dif­fer­ent hours of the week to com­plete all the tasks of one full-time po­si­tion.

It tra­di­tion­ally has been suc­cess­ful in low-skilled jobs but in­creas­ing needs for flex­i­bil­ity in the work­place has seen a grow­ing take-up in more high-pow­ered po­si­tions.

MANY hands make light work – so why not share your job with some­one else? Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­sources SA di­rec­tors Narelle Sli­vak and Ni­colle Sin­cock both wanted to stay in the work­force but in­creas­ing fam­ily com­mit­ments were mak­ing it more and more dif­fi­cult.

So the pair ap­proached their man­agers with a propo­si­tion that they share the role of ma­jor projects and in­vest­ment at­trac­tions di­rec­tor.

‘‘It’s been great for us,’’ Ms Sin­cock says.

‘‘Both Narelle and I have other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties out­side of our jobs which we need to de­vote time to and this ar­range­ment al­lows us to keep our ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise cur­rent and main­tain our con­tacts.’’

Ms Sin­cock and Ms Sli­vak al­ter­nate two and three days a week each.

The na­ture of the job means the work­load can be split eas­ily and ac­counts can be han­dled by one per­son, but com­mu­ni­ca­tion is still key.

‘‘Not ev­ery project that we do is nec­es­sar­ily shared with each other, but com­mu­ni­ca­tion is ab­so­lutely cen­tral to this ar­range­ment,’’ Ms Sli­vak says.

‘‘We’re in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion by email and phone, so if some­thing ur­gent comes up you can deal with it. You get used to be­ing open on where projects are, so other peo­ple can take over if needed.’’

PIRSA chief ex­ec­u­tive Geoff Knight says it is a credit to em­ploy­ers’ flex­i­bil­ity that roles can be shared in this fashion.

‘‘This is a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of how (em­ploy­ers) can re­tain two dy­namic, ded­i­cated and hard­work­ing peo­ple as well as en­able them to fit into their fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,’’ he says.

‘‘In this way, we can re­tain tal­ent and en­sure that men and women with young fam­i­lies can con­tinue high-level ca­reer paths.’’

Amy Ba­jada, group com­mer­cial man­ager for spe­cial­ist re­cruit­ment firm Re­tail world Re­sourc­ing, says job-shar­ing ar­range­ments have been around for years in lower-tier roles but more and more se­nior em­ploy­ees are en­ter­ing into sim­i­lar ar­range­ments.

‘‘A lot of what you’ll com­monly see is sec­re­tar­ial and per­sonal as­sis­tant roles,’’ Ms Ba­jada says.

‘‘You have a per­son long-term and for what­ever rea­son – most likely fam­ily com­mit­ments – they need more time off. This is a great way of keep­ing those peo­ple, with all their ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tacts, in the po­si­tion but be­ing flex­i­ble to their needs at the same time.

‘‘It’s a bril­liant thing for the econ­omy too. It’s great that em­ploy­ers are able to fill their gaps and hire more peo­ple, while still keep­ing peo­ple in their po­si­tions and not jeop­ar­dise their jobs.

‘‘The way the Fair Work Act is struc­tur­ing em­ploy­ment, this is def­i­nitely be­com­ing some­thing em­ploy­ers are con­sid­er­ing more of­ten.

‘‘Em­ploy­ees have a right to request flex­i­ble work­ing hours and em­ploy­ers want to re­tain good staff. This is an ex­cel­lent com­pro­mise with no down­sides.’’

Pic­ture: JO-ANNA ROBIN­SON

Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­sources SA di­rec­tors Narelle Sli­vak and Ni­colle Sin­cock share one role.

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