Could job sharing be the answer to mums’ career concerns?
For many women, dreams of successfully balancing a high-powered career with a happy family situation remain a pipe dream.
Even though laws have changed to encourage mums to return to work, many feel that it is almost impossible to compete at the highest level with people who do not have similar parental responsibilities.
Many mums would say it would be ideal if they could job share, but it is not often a viable option for them. However, new research suggests job sharing can work even in senior management, as well as client-facing and project-driven roles.
The study by diversity recruitment specialist Capability Jane and work-life balance organisation Working Families found that for nine in ten women, the ability to job share would make the difference between staying with their employer and leaving.
Respondents said the benefits of job sharing include career progression, greater flexibility and the ability to work in an important role on a reduced-hours basis.
For businesses, giving staff the opportunity to job share also has advantages, including better retention of key personnel, a team that is more focused and energetic, and better absence cover.
Capability Jane managing director Sara Hill said there is still scepticism among managers who believe job sharing won’t work in their company, even though there is a “growing appetite” among women in key commercial roles for such an arrangement.
Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, encouraged businesses to look at their research and consider how roles are put together. She said: “Job sharing provides a unique opportunity to think about the design of roles and about creating really effective ways of working.”
Flexible working policies are crucial in helping parents juggle the demands of a job with family priorities. Commenting earlier this year, Mary Mercer, principal consultant at the Institute for Employment Studies, said such policies are high on the agenda during difficult times in the economy.
“Workers are better able to balance work with life outside of employment and employers find that as well as being the right thing to do by staff, a flexible approach also allows them to control costs and maximise productivity,” she added.
Have you given up your career to bring up your children? Or perhaps you’re one of the few mums who has managed to climb the career ladder while balancing this with your family life? Share your story below.