Job sharing spreads IT skills

Job sharing spreads IT skills

Australian companies are embracing job sharing programs in a bid to overcome an IT skills shortage and an ageing workforce.

The latest Hudson Report, which surveyed more than 8000 employers, found 88 percent of companies with job share programs say it has improved recruitment and retention of IT staff.

It is an encouraging result for IT managers, but greater adoption of job sharing programs is necessary to keep pace with US and European counterparts. Job sharing typically involves two or more individuals working in a part-time capacity to fill one full-time position.

An estimated 73 percent of job seekers said they would consider job sharing as an employment option.

Hudson JobShare's national practice leader Vilma Faoro said the research shows job sharing has the potential to be a "real solution" to the growing pressure to retain staff in the current climate.

"The IT sector is lagging behind the national average, which could be due to the intrinsic nature of the roles and work environment," Faoro said. "The IT sector is highly client-reactive and the work is both project-orientated and time-driven, with the perception that employees need to be on call 24x7. This perception is a barrier for this sector to adopt and embrace flexible work solutions."

Faoro said it is critical for employers to embrace flexible work options in order to attract and retain talent from a broader talent pool, such as return-to-work parents and older workers nearing retirement.

"Employers [will] reduce staff turnover, gain competitive advantage, and realize significant bottom-line benefits," she added.

Australian Computer Society (ACS) president Philip Argy said members of Generation Y are more likely to be interested in job sharing than previous generations, because they are more open to flexible working arrangements and personal development.

"I think as more firms undergo business process improvement they will realize they can define jobs in terms of inputs and output, and once they do that, they can explore different ways of sharing tasks," he said.

While there is some concern about job handover and continuity in job sharing arrangements, Argy said such programs offer more potential than meets the eye.

The ACS is preparing a report, called the Uncollared Workforce, which examines Generation Y recruitment, for release in March.

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