Part-time jobs paying more than £40,000 a year have increased by more than 5% in the past year, with traditional nine-to-five structure being remodelled
More than 770,000 high earners now work part-time, according to a report that shows how employers are becoming more open to using job shares in senior roles.
The number of part-time staff on salaries over £40,000 has increased by 5.7% in the past year, said flexible-working group Timewise.
A survey of 200 managers showed that two out of five would consider hiring candidates for a senior role as part of a job-share.
Timewise said a growing number of UK businesses were “tearing up” the idea of restricting staff to a nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday working week.
Co-founder Karen Mattison said: “The dramatic increase in job shares offers us a glimpse into how jobs will be designed in the future. All it takes is an open-minded employer who is prepared to try something new in a bid to hire or keep the best people, and an innovative solution is born.
“I am delighted that the conversation is moving away from why people need to work flexibly, to how businesses and individuals are making it work.”
Timewise has drawn up a list of organisations where senior staff work part-time or as a job share, including the Guardian, the Green party, Lloyds Banking Group and the Ministry of Defence.
The list of 50 men and women in senior roles on less than five days a week was launched in 2012 to provide role models of flexible working and to debunk the myth that employees can only progress to the top of an organisation by working full-time. This year it includes nine job shares, compared with none in 2012.
Timewise said the judging panel of senior executives received an unprecedented number of job shares among the nominations this year.
The list’s nine job shares compare with just two when it was last published in 2015. They include the joint leaders of the Green party, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley – who each work part of the day in the role to balance the job with other commitments such as Lucas’s work as a constituency MP.
The Guardian’s shared role of political editor, between Anushka Asthana and Heather Stewart, is also on the list. The only other role in the private sector from the list was human resources director at Lloyds carried out on three days a week each by Alix Ainsley and Charlotte Cherry. They began working as a job share partnership three years ago and moved together to the bank from another firm last year.
The other job shares on this year’s power list were at the charity Age UK, at the Home Office, Croydon council, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Defence and the Scottish government.
Mattison said that while public sector employers dominated the senior job shares list for now, she hoped more private sector firms would follow their lead.
She said: “It’s only with more role models such as these with increased visibility, that will encourage more employers – across both public and private sector – to change how they design roles, to ensure they attract and keep the best people.”
When they meet contacts in Westminster, Angela Kitching and Hannah Pearce hand out double-sided business cards. They also have a joint email sign-off to make clear they share the high-profile role of head of external affairs for the charity Age UK. They work three days each, crossing over on a Wednesday.
The two women came up with the plan for a job share while both on maternity leave. They had already worked together for more than four years and were close friends. Kitching put together a business case for the arrangement and together they pitched it to their employer. Since setting up the job share in 2012 they have been promoted twice.
Given the charity’s work involves people with caring responsibilities, it has long fostered flexible working and to some extent their job share proposal was “playing into an open goal”, said Kitching. But still, she was keen to emphasise there was a business case from Age UK’s side.
“They were retaining our skills and it’s quite a full-on job and requires availability for Westminster-style hours,” says Kitching.
The job share has also gone down well with people outside the organisation, even if it means they might meet one half of the partnership one day and the other half another.
“I thought that it would be a problem but actually either they can’t tell the difference or they don’t care. What they want is Age UK,” says Kitching.
Pearce says the job share was a way for them to stay with the charity in roles they both care deeply about. “We have worked for the organisation for 18 years between us. We are very committed to it … We are both so interested in the job.”
She has a five-year-old son while Kitching has a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son with complex disabilities who requires three or four medical appointments a week. Kitching’s husband works part-time and between them the couple work approximately the hours of a full-time job. “It’s a constant shock to NHS staff we meet that we both work,” says Kitching. “The job share is about trying to build a career that allows me to be wholly available when I am at home and wholly available when at work.”
Pearce’s advice to anyone interested in a job share is to bring it up with their employer. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get,” she says.
Arpad Cseh Senior investment director, UBS
Alice La Trobe Weston Executive director, head of European credit research, MSIM Morgan Stanley
Katie Garrett Executive director, senior engineer, Goldman Sachs
Alix Ainsley, Charlotte Cherry HR director, group operations (job share), Lloyds Banking Group
Matt Dawson Director for business development, The Instant Group
Angela Kitching, Hannah Pearce Head of external affairs (job share), Age UK
Morwen Williams Head of newsgathering operations, BBC
Georgina Faulkner Head of Sky multisports, Sky
Maggie Stilwell Managing partner for talent, UK & Ireland, EY
Sarah Moore Partner, PwC