Jobshare couple

Speed date your way to job flexibility

Growth in companies embracing Jobshare arrangements suggests the concept may be the way of the future for those wanting greater career flexibility?.

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If the dating game is a lot like job interviews, then the double-dating tango must be more like jobsharing, except with permission.

Just like any relationship, the challenge is finding a good mate. But these days, there’s evidence to suggest that this is starting to become more common and easier to do.

The growing popularity of flexible working arrangements like jobsharing – which is splitting the duties of a full-time role in half between two people – comes as many working parents, older Australians and generation Y’ers pursue careers which offer greater work-life balance.

This makes sense according to data provided to Financy from jobs website SEEK, which said Australian companies are having to use the words “flexibility” increasingly more in job advertisements as they try to attract staff and address a talent shortfall in many senior roles.

To test the appetite for the concept, the advertising industry will be at the centre of a jobshare experiment in Melbourne on Thursday as two start-up founders Simone McLaughlin of Jobs Shared and former advertising account director and Rachel Mence, of ShareMyJob play host to a speed dating jobshare evening.

“I see jobsharing as being a good way of getting talented people back in the job force,” said Ms McLaughlin, adding that the speed date event will soon target other industries to help those people who desire to work flexibly.

“For anyone coming along I would suggest they ask three key questions of their potential mate and that’s; what’s your availability – what days do you want to work? What are you wanting to job share for? And for how long?”

The term flexibility is also proving to be an attractive part of corporate advertising.

Advisory firm Grant Thorton Australia has today revealed its willingness to get on the front foot to attract and retain staff by challenging outdated legislation to provide early access to long service leave, extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks and give all its staff the opportunity to work flexibly.

“Workforce demographics and the needs of our people are shifting and we are not afraid to adapt to these changes,” said Greg Keith chief executive office of Grant Thornton Australia. “We are creating an environment that really meets the needs of our people.”

The firm has also increased its secondary carer’s paid parental leave to two weeks, effective immediately.

“We’re committed to our people and we care deeply about them and their families. The new parental leave program allows us to provide our people with the opportunity to give both their families and careers the attention they deserve,” said Mr Keith.

Aside from those companies which are advertising their flexible credentials there has also been a number of early adopters of jobshare arrangements.

But just as part-time and casual positions can have their negatives in terms of employee stability and retention, jobsharing can also have its organisational challenges.

“It is a lot of work involved trying to make one full time job be seamless,” said Ms McLaughlin.

“It is not an easy. For employers it helps them to show that they are offering workplace flexibility. Also if they had someone who needed to cut back on their hours back then they could post a job and find their ideal other half.”

Ms McLaughlin said one of the main reasons she started Jobs Shared was to help more women get back into their chosen professions after having children.

“When it comes to superannuation, many women already lose out, and then we have a gender pay gap that we have to deal with, so if there is a way to make it somewhat easier to get back into the workforce then I say why not.”

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