Dear Employer: Sara Allan on why job sharing should be a central feature of your talent strategy

Dear employer,

There are loads of reasons for you to approach diversity more radically and with more tenacity than you are. It’s the right thing to do; our daughters should be able to see someone who looks like them in every company and in every institution; and I think we’ve all agreed that there are no differences to be drawn around capability and gender (though perhaps we’ve a while to go before we see motherhood as a time of skills development rather than deficit).

I’d love it if these were reasons enough to make change happen, but evidence suggests they aren’t.

So instead, here are eight reasons why if job-sharing isn’t a central feature of your talent strategy, you’re missing a trick.

Just in case you aren’t in the loop: job-sharing is two employees jointly delivering a full- time role. It’s great because allows employees to work genuinely part-time hours in senior challenging roles while progressing in their career (i.e. – they can carry on doing a job that they love and are great at while balancing parenting and other interests and priorities). At the same time, employers (and their clients) get a full-time service from two brilliant brains (for the price on one) who collaborate to be more innovative, strategic and productive.

Ok – eight reasons – here we go:

1: Job-sharing will enable you to attract the talent that your competitors can’t

2. … and you will retain your diverse talent

40% of senior women (54,000 each year) leave work due to work|life balance challenges. Job-sharing makes it possible for them to stay.

3. So job-sharing will allow you to REALLY address your gender pay gap

Yes, mentoring and sponsorship and conversations and targets are great, but if you don’t make it possible for women who want to balance parenthood to take senior positions, and don’t tackle why on average 40% of your female staff downgrade their role to be able to work part-time, nothing is going to change.

But job-sharing is so much more than just working patterns. It’s a huge win for you – for what you create or deliver or sell, for how you organise people, and for your bottom line:

4. Job-sharing will allow you to commodify innovation (and you get two for the price of one)
Sharers jointly tackling projects are more innovative and more strategic and get great outcomes. They bring a far greater breadth of skills and experience than a single person can offer. We coach them to strategically exploit their differences to become an uber-employee.

61% of women surveyed said they would like the opportunity to job share and 87% said

job sharing meant the difference between staying with a company or leaving.

5. Productivity increases dramatically

Job-sharers are 30% more productive than their full-time counterparts.

6. Continuity is locked down

Sharers handover, so both are always up to speed. No days when a key member isn’t in the office to solve a problem or respond to a client, no dramas with holiday or illness.

7. You get certainty with succession planning

Pair people nearing retirement with those on the way up to have experienced and knowledgeable successors ready to go when the moment arises.


  • 3⁄4  Save over £30k (much more for senior roles) in replacement costs each time you retain an employee.
  • 3⁄4  Stop valuable organisational knowledge walking out the door (in a successful firm, “knowledge capital” will vastly exceed “equity capital”).
  • 3⁄4  Retain the enormous investment already made in training your staff (an employee of, say, 12 years who leaves takes more than £50k’s training and uses it to another employer’s benefit).And here’s the big one: Companies with a diverse workforce are MUCH MOREPROFITABLE – attracting and retaining talented women is the low hanging fruit, the simplest way to increase your bottom line. It’s only hard if you make it hard. So stop writing talent strategies which tick a box and change nothing. Let us help you offer job-sharing. Start with a pilot, tempt back some talented alumni who you’d love the get back, and prove that it works if you want to start slowly. Hope to speak to you soon Sara [email protected]


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