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what's job sharing and why is everybody talking about it?

Job sharing is a concept that offers two people the opportunity to share a position, either full-time or part-time. The unique thing about it is that the tasks are not simply divided but that both people bear the entire responsibility for the goals of the position.

01. more highly qualified women in the labour market and in leadership positions

In the case of female executives or leaders, it’s been proven that these women either don’t have children or return to full-time work within a short period after giving birth. They do this to maintain their career and professional development and avoid the motherhood penalty - where women with children are paid less than women without children. Anyone who falls out of the promotion process due to part-time work for a few years has almost no chance of ever reaching the level of people who work without interruption. As a result, the labour market is losing countless capable talents who, with the right support, could unleash great potential. In job sharing, these part-time employees can continue to work in their current positions immediately after parental leave, further their careers and skills, and, if they wish, later return to work full-time with their career unaffected. In many cases, this would prevent the 'career dip' that hinders women from earning a high salary and thus, among other things, prevent poverty in retirement - an issue that women are 80% more likely to experience. In addition to this, there is more diversity in the management floors, which also demonstrably leads to a better, more successful performance of companies.

02. more men can participate in childcare

An ever-increasing amount of men want to participate more intensively in raising their children. If men can get into job-sharing models, they can keep their positions, reduce their working hours, not have their development hindered, and thus have the flexibility to take on part of the care work.

Conversely, women can re-enter the workforce post-pregnancy and work part-time, earn more money, and thus balance the household income. Not only does this have tax benefits, but the additional care time is covered by the father (thus reducing childcare costs), and the children can benefit from time with both parents.

03. people will have more time for their personal interests or social engagement

In times of climate change and social uncertainties, more and more people, especially the younger generations, want impactful work. Not only do they want to invest personal time in activism, but they also want to work for companies that stand for social values ​​and climate protection. Job sharing stands for certain values, for progress, for change, and spreads a spirit of optimism. Many studies and experiments have shown that not only is the number of applicants exploding for highly qualified part-time jobs, but there are also significantly more men applying for these positions. More time for private life is very popular amongst Gen Z, and job sharing would give them the time and freedom to invest their time in other passions.

04. work will be restructured and redefined in the future

Project-related work is trendy. In the era of working from home and with more flexibility, #workfromanywhere has arrived for all age groups. There is (almost) no reason to be present at the office all the time anymore. And there seem to be fewer reasons to stay with one company forever. Nowadays, employees (especially Gen Z) no longer want to eke out their professional existence in a company for years. Today, experiences from different areas count far more than the classic linear career. Job sharing also allows one to work on two projects or in two positions simultaneously. This way, people can contribute their skills in several areas, thus promoting the innovative power of the local economy, and have the opportunity to fulfil all of their interests, which may not be possible at just one company.

05. It takes #newleadership

Managers are no longer just leaders. Today, coaching and mentoring are asked of executives. Team members are accompanied, not instructed. Anyone who gets the best out of their employees and is able to develop them further is the new hero in management. Teams are being rethought. People will get used to dealing with two bosses in job sharing, with two innovation drivers, and with two contact persons. There is also a good chance that you will get along well with at least one of the two. Job sharing takes diversity to a whole new level. It connects people with the same values ​​and attitudes. It enables innovation and freedom in work.

about the author

Guest writer Sigrid Uray-Esterer is a ‘job twin’ herself. She is the co-founder of JobTwins- a platform for job sharing and part-time careers which matches part-time employees to job sharing opportunities.


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