The idea for Jobs Shared evolved very much from my personal journey. After I had my first son (Oliver, now 3) I wanted to return to the advertising agency I had been working with prior to my maternity leave – but I wanted to go back part time. Unfortunately they didn’t entertain the idea at all – it was full time or nothing. Trying to find part time work in advertising is almost impossible. No-one wants to talk to you. It’s the kind of industry where the hours are long and the demands are high but to me it was crazy – I am highly qualified and very good at my job and no-one was even willing to talk to me. I thought about how many other women there are out there, who have had children and are really great at their job but no employers are interested in them because they only offer full time roles.
I was fortunate that I did find part-time work with a great advertising agency, and Jobs Shared took shape as a new business development idea for them. I was thinking about what the ideal situation would be for others like me who wanted to return to work on a part-time basis - and to me the ideal scenario would be to find another person who did what you do so you could job share.
The issue with job sharing is that it is difficult to find someone who is in the same position as you – so I thought about creating a platform similar to an online dating website where you could find someone to share your job with. Like match-making. The platform offers a database where you can find someone that has similar experience to you and that you feel you can work with. You meet with them and make sure you’re compatible (someone who has the same career aspirations, worth ethic and job vision as you) – you put a business case together and apply for a role as a package. Jobs Shared goes to the employer with a full solution as a job share team. “This is who we are and this is how we plan to do it and this is how it can benefit you.”
The concept evolved in to a business idea when I was on maternity leave with my second son (Euan, now 1). It became something I really believed in, but because I hadn’t run my own business before I thought long and hard before going ahead with it. It’s all very well coming up with an idea, but it might not be that great in reality. So I did a lot of research to make sure it was viable. I talked to a lot of businesses and HR people, asking their opinion and advice, to make sure there was an appetite for job sharing before embarking on the venture. I refined the mechanics of the idea to make it as simple as possible, and launched the Jobs Shared website earlier this year.
When the website launched I went back to part-time work at the same advertising agency– they are really supportive of me getting Jobs Shared off the ground. I focus on my business during the two days I am at home and on the weekends. When Jobs Shared is financially viable, I will work on it full time. It’s not easy to juggle setting up a new business and working part time whilst raising my two boys, but I try and manage my time well. The weekends are about spending time together but it’s also about planning for the week ahead. Shopping, making meals, getting lunches sorted – being organised takes a lot of preparation. My husband is really supportive of me and what I am trying to achieve, and he contributes a lot to how the business and our home is run. We don’t have family support with my family in Qld and his family overseas so we rely on friends, babysitters and childcare. My advice to other mums wanting to start up their own business is firstly to really believe in what you want to do, to do a lot of research into the viability of the business and to be super organised!
Jobs Shared is my passion now. The business targets professionals – people who have worked hard to get to where they are only to find they can’t go back into their career at the same level if they want to work part time after having children. We have recently secured the support of Westpac, and whist they are not advertising specific job-share positions they are open to the idea. We are trying to get companies to understand that they don’t have to offer job-share positions, they are still full time jobs - we just want them to entertain the idea of having two people sharing that role. They don’t have to pay any more money. The team’s pay is split pro-rata and they also split their holidays – which is such a bonus for an employer because there is always someone to cover the role. If one of the team is sick the other can cover them for that period, they’ve got two lots of experience to do the one job.
I see Jobs Shared as being a social enterprise, and I wouldn't put profit before what I want it to acheive. Society needs to change and Jobs Shared is working very hard to be a vital part of that movement. I really want Job Shared to grow, It is our future.
Jobs Shared is a team dedicated to evolving the way we work , helping make flexible working hours the norm so more people can enjoy a better work/life balance. Having experienced the difficulty of finding high-level part-time work, Jobs Shared have made it their mission to help highly qualified people, both young and old, find part-time work without compromising their senior positions. They want to help employers understand the benefits of job sharing and see more companies offer flexible senior positions.
Simone understood the importance of research and managing risk. Have you got a great business idea but having some trouble getting started? Educating yourself is so important. Business Mamas can help you learn how to assess risk and to determine the viability of your business idea. Contact us today!