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Civil Service

Get on the Job Share Network

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Civil Service Leaders
Stephen Lovegrove , Permanent Secretary, DECC
Stephen Lovegrove, Perm Sec DECC

A week or so ago I spoke briefly to introduce the Job Share Network Event held in Treasury. The room was packed and that was great to see. I am a huge fan of job sharing, and I think it is one of the real competitive edges the Civil Service has over the private sector, where they are as rare as hens’ teeth.

From the perspective of the organisation, job sharing has two main benefits. First, it allows us to access a great pool of talent that might otherwise be lost to us. Second, two heads are better than one. However, as was said at the event, you do need to make sure that your job-share partner and you have similar views on how to actually do work, as well as not being too far away from each other in your basic outlook on substance. For the individual, job sharing should allow for a much healthier work/life balance, especially for those with caring responsibilities.

Job-share perm sec?

Head and shoulders ofSusannah Storey (left) and Jo Shanmugalingam
Susannah Storey (left) and Jo Shanmugalingam, job-share partners at DECC

I’ve worked with two job shares, one in BIS and one in DECC. Both, interestingly, were in strategy. And both worked (and still work) brilliantly. When the manager has to put in significant extra effort to manage a job share I think you have a problem. I’ve never had that experience - quite the opposite, in fact. One tip we heard about at the session was to make full and imaginative use of IT; Microsoft OneNote is apparently a fantastic tool to use.

There weren’t that many men at the event, but there were some, and senior role models and job-share aspirants were also present. I was asked whether there could be a job-share Permanent Secretary: why not?

Job sharing isn’t always easy. The ones that operate best are the ones where you can’t see the join. And achieving that, I know, is hard work. But the benefits for all involved are significant and I am excited and proud that the Civil Service is leading the way in supporting its staff to adopt this way of working.

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  1. Comment by Shaun posted on

    Sorry Lola, but I don't agree. I work for two Directors who job share and while I was very skeptical at first; believing that it meant two lots of briefings and delays in decision making I have to say that they are one big brain. So why can't they rise to the very top? They maintain a good work life balance that works for them and the organisation. I think a lot of male, pale and stale sitting in board rooms would be pleasantly surprised at how effective this modern way of working actually is.

  2. Comment by Lola posted on

    With all due respect. Call me chauvinistic, traditional or whatever, but I believe that if you are to hold a high position in public office, then you should dedicate your life to it. That means you have to sacrifice your private life. So for me, a job sharing Permanent Secretary is a no-no.