Job sharing for C-Suite Executives. Can it be done?

Livingston James’ Sophie Randles discusses how job sharing in high level positions can positively impact women in C-Suite roles, and slow the drain of senior level talent.

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, to 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 likely for the increased challenges it presents and due to it being less commonly accepted. Job sharing most often 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.  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.

While statistics about the number of people working a job share are inconsistent and poorly reported, there is evidence that suggests that job shares are becoming more popular, even in executive positions where this was previously rarely enabled.

Since 2012, Timewise has published its Power Part Time List which highlights those people working in senior part time roles, including job shares.  The 2021 list, published in Management Today, included joint HR Directors at the BBC, Wendy Aslett and Rachel Currie; Partners at Baker McKenzie, Helen Brown and Julie Hemmings; and IT Operations Managers at Ford, Sian Hodgson-Wood and Gillian Humphries.  A recent article in the Guardian highlighted job sharing at the highest levels in GCHQ, with two working mothers sharing the role as Heads of Counter Terrorism.  In the article the pair describe their job share as their “superpower” which allows them to double output and efficiency.

An increase in job sharing results in increased opportunities for people to take on executive positions. This is hugely impactful for women as they have famously lacked opportunities to move into executive roles. Organisations may opt for a male/ female job share to improve diversity and variety of thought allowing them benefit from having two points of view, influence, and people with opposing ways of thinking 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, ensuring financial and strategic gain.

Of course, it is essential that businesses ensure that they have fully considered the impact of introducing a job share at senior level, and even if it is appropriate for their business at this time.   If businesses decide that a job-share at executive level could work for them, clear communication and structure will be key to success. Ensuring employees know which executive 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 that organisations embrace change, sustainability and innovation, job sharing is likely to grow in popularity with two people having more impact than one alone can. Something to consider, and perhaps embrace, when designing or reshaping your Board of the future!

For more advice on executive job-sharing opportunities, contact Sophie Randles at [email protected] for a confidential conversation.

Can we help?

If you are looking for leadership advisory or recruitment support, please get in touch with our team of experts.

More Articles...

Livingston James is delighted to be retained by German Doner Kebab to appoint a CFO

GDK in the UK has seen significant growth over the last 4 years and has recently opened its 140th restaurant and now indirectly employs more than 3,500 team members. All GDK’s UK restaurants are owned and operated by entrepreneurial sub-franchisees. Having established itself s one of the most exciting and most loved QSR brands in the UK, GDK is now looking to take the next step in its growth and has recently announced plans to open another 25 new restaurants in the UK in 2024 and to have over 300 sites in 5 years. 

Livingston James Retained by Corran Capital to Appoint a Principal / Investment Director

Corran Capital is an Edinburgh-based specialist private equity firm that invests in clean energy and sustainability-focused businesses.

We work with high-calibre entrepreneurs to support them scale and drive innovation in their companies.  We are focused on investing in pioneering businesses from across the clean energy and sustainability spectrum, in areas including energy efficiency, renewable heat, recycling & resource efficiency, water & wastewater, transport/EV and the energy transition.

Telegraph Article on Impending Tax Changes

Our CEO, Jamie Livingston, spoke to The Telegraph and explained how the upcoming change will impact anyone earning over £28,850, meaning they will pay more in income tax than if they lived in England.