Job shares: the business case

Job shares make good business case, according to Capability Jane.

How many women have stepped off the career ladder because they have felt unable to do a full-time senior role and have a family life?

According to research by Capability Jane's Job Share Project, which promotes senior executive flexible working, companies are losing some of their best talent because of an inability to offer part-time roles at senior level or to promote role models who are doing such roles in a flexible way.

Sara Hill, managing director of Capability Jane, hosted a webinar on job shares this week and said the organisation’s research showed 60% of women who had left their company had cited lack of part-time roles or role models working in this way at a senior level as the main reason for them leaving.

The research found 48% of high performers left their companies, of whom 60% were women. That, she said, was a lot of a company’s high potential individuals to be losing.

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It wasn’t just women either. Research into Generation Y – those born between 1982 and the early 2000s – showed a trend away from full-time work, including an increasing embrace of freelance working. “Their careers are built on different expectations,” said Hill. A third said they wanted to or were working part time.

Thirty per cent of men had considered leaving their work to be able to spend more time with their families.

There is a clear business case for part-time working, said Hill, but many roles need full-time cover and part-timers often leave because they find that they are not able to do their role on a part-time basis and are regularly working over their hours. Job shares offered a solution to this problem, stated Hill. “You get continuity, two different skills sets and research shows there is a minimum of 30% uplift in productivity with a job share because you get the equivalent of two Mondays of high energy every week.”

Hill said a lack of part-time roles was costing companies at least £6m a year. This was calculated based on a company of 3,500 employees. On average, that company would expect to lose 77 senior level female staff a year, 60% of whom would leave due to lack of part-time roles or senior part-time role models. That equates to 47 staff at a cost of £128,000 per employee. Hill said this was a conservative estimate given that it did not include loss of a person’s knowledge and the networks of contacts they had built up.

Capability Jane’s research also looked at the impact of offering job shares on recruitment. It found the number of senior female hires rose by 450% from 8% to 44% when job shares were offered at the companies studied. There was also a rise in the quality of shortlisted candidates with an 80% increase in the ratio of interview to hires after job shares were introduced. Senior job share partnerships also tended to get promoted with research showing 71% had moved up the ladder. “There is not only a business case, but a talent case,” said Hill. “Job shares lead to a better quality of talent.”

*Future Capability Jane job share webinars include 10 Steps to Sustainable Job Sharing – June 12th 12.30pm, and Job Sharing: Solutions in Practice – June 26th 12.30pm.

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