Two heads can be better than one
By Aaron MacDonald
Many hands make light work – so why not share your job with someone else?
Primary Industries and Resources SA directors Narelle Slivak and Nicolle Sincock both wanted to stay in the workforce but increasing family commitments were making it more and more difficult.
So the pair approached their managers with a proposition that they share the role of major projects and investment attractions director.
"It’s been great for us,” Ms Sincock says.
"Both Narelle and I have other responsibilities outside of our jobs which we need to devote time to and this arrangement allows us to keep our experience and expertise current and maintain our contacts.”
Ms Sincock and Ms Slivak alternate two and three days a week each.
The nature of the job means the workload can be split easily and accounts can be handled by one person, but communication is still key.
"Not every project that we do is necessarily shared with each other, but communication is absolutely central to this arrangement,” Ms Slivak says.
"We’re in constant communication by email and phone, so if something urgent comes up you can deal with it. You get used to being open on where projects are, so other people can take over if needed.”
PIRSA chief executive Geoff Knight says it is a credit to employers’ flexibility that roles can be shared in this fashion.
"This is a fantastic example of how (employers) can retain two dynamic, dedicated and hard-working people as well as enable them to fit into their family responsibilities,” he says.
"In this way, we can retain talent and ensure that men and women with young families can continue high-level career paths.”
Amy Bajada, group commercial manager for specialist recruitment firm Retailworld Resourcing, says job-sharing arrangements have been around for years in lower-tier roles but more and more senior employees are entering into similar arrangements.
"A lot of what you’ll commonly see is secretarial and personal assistant roles,” Ms Bajada says.
"You have a person long-term and for whatever reason – most likely family commitments – they need more time off. This is a great way of keeping those people, with all their experience and contacts, in the position but being flexible to their needs at the same time.
"It’s a brilliant thing for the economy too. It’s great that employers are able to fill their gaps and hire more people, while still keeping people in their positions and not jeopardise their jobs.
"The way the Fair Work Act is structuring employment, this is definitely becoming something employers are considering more often.
"Employees have a right to request flexible working hours and employers want to retain good staff. This is an excellent compromise with no downsides.”
- Job sharing can lead to flexible work hours without sacrificing productivity for the employer, or your expertise or contacts.
- Communication is essential in a job-share arrangement.
- The Fair Work Act grants employees the right to ask for more flexible hours.
Article from The Advertiser, October 30, 2010.