Survey backs case for job-sharing managers

A study commissioned by The Resource Connection, has proved the efficacy of flexible work, and its positive contribution to the bottom line.

We commissioned assessment and development analyst consultancy SHL (formerly Saville and Holdsworth) to help develop the study and the results reveal groundbreaking facts about senior managers in flexible working positions. I am convinced the findings will go a long way towards breaking down barriers associated with flexible working among this band of employees and will pave the way for its practice across all areas of industry.

Our main aim was to assess the characteristics of flexible workers and explore the attitudes of their managers, including views on their performance compared to other staff. The findings were based on evidence from 57 flexible workers and 69 pairs of job-sharers and their senior line managers, all in managerial positions across public and private sector organisations.

The most significant finding for HR directors considering taking the case for flexibility into the boardroom is that when senior managers choose when and how they work by embracing both flexibility and job-share, they perform significantly better than their 9 to 5 colleagues.

Further key findings reveal:

  • 70 per cent of flexible workers were perceived to be outperforming their full-time colleagues, and their own previous full-time status

  • 60 per cent were ranked very good/excellent at problem-solving and analysis, and resilience in the face of setbacks

  • Flexible workers scored higher on resilience, leadership and commitment

The study also aimed to assess the performance of job-sharing as an important component in the repertoire of flexible work techniques. On a performance rating scale of 1 to 7, 91 per cent of job-sharers rated 5 and above for effectiveness of working as part of a team, with 82 per cent ranked 4 or above for output.

Nearly 70 per cent of job-sharers scored higher than full-timers for specialist knowledge, giving weight to the argument that two heads are better than one.

The results indicate that in terms of being adaptable and committed team players, job-sharers and teams were judged by their line managers to be significantly outperforming equivalent full-time employees.

Our study shows that managers adopting flexible working are delivering a major, unequivocal performance dividend in terms of the quality and quantity of work. Perhaps more strikingly, job-share managers produce an even greater dividend.

The findings not only build on the case for flexibility, but also highlight job-share as a realistic and beneficial method of filling senior management posts.

Through the analysis of personal characteristics, we have determined that any individual can be a successful job-sharer or flexible worker. In my next column, we will examine how an individual can find a job-sharing partner.

Copies of the report cost £50 from The Resource Connection on 020-7636 6744 or at

By Carol Savage, managing director, The Resource Connection

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