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Job share: two brains for the price of one

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Works for me. Works for NSW. Flexible Working - Job Share

Job share is a full-time role undertaken by two or more employees. Each employee is paid and earns leave entitlements proportionate to the part of the role they complete. They can be at the same level or paired vertically.

The NSW Government supports job share because it has so many benefits. For employees, it unlocks access to quality part-time work and career opportunities, while your days off are genuine days off. For employers, it creates a larger potential pool of talent, doubles access to skills and knowledge, provides full coverage in a role and increases productivity.

As a sector, it can help us to achieve our goal of looking like the community we serve by broadening the workforce participation opportunities available.

How job share can help you or your team

  • managing a transition to retirement
  • succession planning by pairing someone experienced with someone on the way up
  • attracting a younger workforce who may want a portfolio career to pursue entrepreneurial passions
  • providing quality, stimulating roles to people who need to work part-time for any reason, such as caring or community commitments, or managing ongoing health conditions
  • providing a solution for those hard-to-fill roles where you need the a multiskilled person, for example, the programmer who is also great at networking with clients.

Designed and managed properly, almost any role can be job shared. But how do you make it work? In consultation with experienced job sharers, we have developed a series of factsheets, guides and case studies on what it takes to succeed at job share, how to effectively manage job share pairs, and how to foster and encourage more job sharing in your agency.

Job Share Videos

Answers to some common job share questions

Watch videos that answer some of the common questions asked by managers about job share

View all videos  

Job share guides

These guides, divided into fact sheets so you need only read or print the section you need, provide essential information on what it takes to make job share succeed.

View all Job share Guides

Case studies of those who make it work

We’ve also worked with a number of successful job share pairs across the NSW government sector to learn how they make it work. We have listened to their insights and tips and made a series of case studies which we are sharing here.

  • Liz Moore and Michelle Wood case study cover

    Liz Moore has job shared for 15 years, working in EPA, DPC and Industry and has worked with multiple job share partners. Liz job shared with Jane Mallen-Cooper for 12 years, moving roles together from EPA to DPC, until Jane’s retirement. Liz has also managed a job share while she was part of a job share. In 2019 Liz will job share the role of Executive Director, Strategy and Policy in the NSW Department of Industry with a new job share partner Michelle Wood.

    Download Liz and Michelle's Case Study  

  • Caroline Reed and Gabi Carrigan case study cover

    Gabi Carrigan and Caroline Reed are Executive Directors, NDIS Reform at the Department of Premier and Cabinet. They have job shared using a ‘twin model’ for over three years, and while the model has stayed the same over the years, their approach to job sharing itself has consistently evolved to meet the needs of their work, their team, and the outcomes they need to achieve.

    Download Caroline and Gabi's Case Study  

  • Millia Mellick and Trina Palazzolo case study cover

    Millia Mellick and Trina Palazzolo: surprising people with how well flexibility can work.

    Executive Assistant to the Executive Director, People, Family and Community Services

    Download Millia and Trina's Case Study  

  • Felicity No and Peter Goth case study cover

    Felicity No and Peter Goth worked as Co-Directors of Business Strategy and Evaluation in the Department of Primary Industries for one year. They share joint responsibility for the role, with some pieces of work completed individually by each.

    Download Peter and Felicity's Case Study  

  • Anna Wade case study cover

    Anna Wade is a Policy Manager in the Better Regulation Division of the Customer Service cluster. She has job shared with Julie Wright for over 6 months in a ‘twin model’, which means that they are jointly responsible for all duties.

    Download Anna's Case Study  

  • Charmion Rowe case study cover

    Charmion Rowe is in a job-share arrangement at the Department of Family and Community Services, as a Business Support Assistant in the Tenancy Team for Housing.

    Download Charmion's Case Study  

  • Kristie and David case study cover

    Kristie Clarke works part-time, remotely out of Murwillumbah. She job shares a Director role within Service Delivery, Service NSW with David Walsh, who is based in the Sydney CBD.

    Download Kristie and David's Case Study  

  • Nallini and Alison case study cover

    Nallini Rajaretnam and Alison Weaver have shared the role of Director at the Department of Treasury for over three years. During this time, both the nature of their role and their partnership have evolved to meet business and personal needs..

    Download Nallini and Alison's Case Study  

Finding a job share partner

The PSC is also piloting a job share matching platform with several agencies from March 2019 to March 2020. This platform makes it easier for people interested in job share to find out more, meet other potential job sharers and see applicable roles advertised. It links potential job sharers with each other and provides them with some insight into their potential compatibility or areas they may need to work on. It also hosts resources for managers, HR teams and agency leaders on how to support and enable job share.

The following agencies are participating in this pilot (note, titles do not reflect Machinery of Government changes announced in April 2019):

  1. Better Regulation division, Customer Service
  2. Family and Community Services, Stronger Communities
  3. Industry, Department of Planning and Industry
  4. Department of Premier and Cabinet
  5. Service NSW, Customer Service
  6. Public Service Commission
  7. Roads and Maritime Services, Transport for NSW

If you do not work in one of these agencies, you can still job share, but you will need to use your networks, or perhaps ask for support from your HR team to reach out to others in your organisation or in a talent pool who work or want part-time in a similar role. Use the resources above to get you started.

Planning your job share arrangement

The PSC has developed an online job share planning tool, which helps new job share partners plan their job share arrangement and develop a simple one-page document to share their ways of working with colleagues and key stakeholders.

Getting off to a clear start will ensure that you set your job share partnership up for success. Planning and writing down the details of the job share arrangement and structure will align you as partners and help communication with other stakeholders.

Once the document is completed, you can print, download as a word document or share via email.

The online tool can be accessed here:

Leading the implementation of job share in your agency?

We’ve also created resources to promote job share in your agency, if you’re responsible for driving an uptake in its implementation:

  • The job share communications toolkit to help you plan your communications, messaging and promotion of Job Share in your agency including raising awareness of its benefits. The toolkit contains suggested text for web, newsletters, social media and executive messaging, and images and banners.
  • A promotional video for job share drawn from the platform launch, featuring the PSC Commissioner on why the NSW Government supports job share, Michelle Wood and Liz Moore, leading sector executives on how they make their job share work, and vox pops from participants (see above to download for your own agency use)
  • A full video of the job share platform launch, to promote job share across the agencies participating in the pilot (see above to download for your own agency use).

Engaging line managers through behaviourally based interventions

In the second half of 2019, we partnered with the Behavioural Insights Unit (BIU) in the Department of Customer Service and other agencies to trial an email intervention that encouraged middle managers to promote flexible working arrangements with their staff.

The project was to see how we could better engage middle managers in supporting flexible working practices, by randomly allocating managers to a group receiving either a standardised email (control group) or a behaviourally informed email (treatment group). There’s more information on how we did that here. Both emails encouraged them to email their team to discuss flexible working. The treatment email used various behaviourally informed techniques to motivate recipients—including sending the email from a senior leader, using an email template to lower friction costs and highlighting how other managers encourage flexible working.

Results from the trial showed that managers receiving the behaviourally informed email were three times more likely to send the email than those receiving the standardised email. This confirms the usefulness of adopting behavioural insights techniques when crafting your communications targeting behavioural change.

However, the trial also revealed that the overall impact of email alone remains low in driving active change. Just 3% of recipients in the treatment group, and 1% of the control group, sent the email to their team as directed.

Mass emails and communications efforts raise some awareness but are unlikely to be enough to create the behavioural and systemic change needed to achieve the sector’s flexible work goals. Direct behavioural change interventions with a strong evidence base, are necessary. Here are two successful interventions across NSW Government:

  1. Team-based design, where you design a trial of flexible working with an entire team at once, setting parameters based on the nature of the work needed, and principles based on the ‘rules of the road’ everyone will stick to for the trial’s duration.
  2. The BI trial run at NSW Premier and Cabinet, where default diary settings were changed, managers encouraged to use/role model flexibility themselves, and a competition was run between teams to encourage the use of flexible working.