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Would you job-share with your boss?

Would you job-share with your boss? Source: Getty

Getting a promotion can be tough, but job-sharing with your boss could be the answer, new research shows. 

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has proposed a new model for job sharing, which could see you working in a higher position and gaining more experience sooner than you thought. 

The Flexibility within Flexibility model proposes three new job sharing models: intergenerational sharing; flexible time-based sharing and vertical sharing. 

Intergenerational sharing would involve employees at different stages of their career, aiming to help senior and mid-career professionals form a partnership. 

Then, there’s flexible time-based sharing, which would see co-workers job-share according to their time needs, not on any traditional division of working days. 

Vertical sharing would see you share a job with a more senior co-worker, and letting that co-worker divide the responsibility of the job. 

UNSW Professor Rosalind Dixon said these job-sharing models could see junior employees learn more leadership skills.

“We need this type of job sharing to unlock leadership potential by allowing for a more flexible division of responsibility and working hours between professionals at different stages of their careers, and which can be used alone or in combination with other, traditional modes,” Dixon said. 

UNSW trialled a combination of all three models, and found they genuinely worked. 

In that trial, the director of UNSW knowledge exchange, Warwick Dawson, appointed one of his senior staff, John Arneil, to job-share with. 

Dawson retained 80 per cent of his responsibilities, and attempted to spend one day out of the office. 

“The trials at UNSW were very successful, and we have seen some examples of this type of thing pop up informally in some progressive organisations,” Dixon said. “But there are also real advantages to adopting a formal structure for such arrangements.”

And it’s especially important for women

Intergenerational job-sharing, for example, could see men in senior positions foster knowledge sharing and gender equality within their organisations, which would in turn bring women into senior positions. 

“All these new models for job sharing seek to increase gender equality in the workforce, with a particular focus on senior levels of management,” Dixon said. 

The time-based job-sharing model is also a good idea for mothers in the workforce, who may need a reduced workload.

When Kirstin Hunter, Future Super’s managing director, had her daughter, she job-shared with one other woman at consultancy firm Bain & Co, and found this gave her more confidence in the workplace, as well as a “peer mentor” to navigate the workplace as a mother. 

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