In recent years, the need for job flexibility has gained a lot of media attention. Most of this attention has focused on flexibility for mothers returning to work, so in the current work force, job share is mainly utilised to support women with care responsibilities.

Until now, the need for job flexibility for older workers to accommodate a better transition to retirement hasn’t received much consideration. This means that when talented older workers retire, Australian corporations are faced with the sudden loss of their skills.

Based on ABS, there are close to one million Australians aged 45-64 who are retired but who could potentially still contribute to our workforce1. One issue is the lack of senior part-time roles in the market. Today, part-time roles represent 36.9% of the Australian market but only 1.2% of these are management roles2. Job share can play a great part in giving talented older workers the flexibility they need so companies can retain them in roles where their skills and knowledge can be utilised and shared across the business.

Transition to retirement is the #2 reason to consider job share

In a survey conducted by Gemini3 with Research Now, 26% of respondents chose transition to retirement as their main reason to consider job share3. This represents 1.3 million employees Australian corporations could retain for longer by supporting job share arrangements.

The survey also highlighted that the more senior the employee, the more interested they would be in job share. This reaffirmed job share being a solution to retaining senior and high performer employees.

How companies can drive job share with older workers

  1. Include job share in retirement strategies

Proactively offer job share opportunities to high performer workers planning to retire. Create a clear job share policy available to all workers and communicate this across the business.

  1. Pair older and younger workers

Pairing future retirees with younger workers can be extremely beneficial for the company as knowledge is retained and passed on through generations. It can also bring different points of view and solutions from different backgrounds and experience. Pairing of age group should be done carefully to ensure the two employees respect each other and have similar values and communication styles.

  1. Create role models

Role models are the best way to break the barriers. If two senior employees can showcase a successful job share arrangement then everyone will be more open to the concept. The senior pair can become mentors for future job share pairs.

  1. Equip the HR team

The last and probably the most important point is to equip human resources teams with toolkits and policies to ensure success. HR will be the ambassador for job share with all workers so it is essential they receive the right training to create, fill and sustain job share.


Sources: 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Retirement and retirement intentions 2009. 2. Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours conducted in respect of May 2012. 3. Gemini3 survey conducted by Research Now, 229 respondents, May 2015