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Exercising your share options

Part time working and job sharing are gaining ground in UK business.

But both practices are still more common in certain sectors - such as finance and retailing - than in the construction industry. And it is still rare to find a man and a woman sharing a management position.

However, the experience of Michele Dix and Malcolm Murray-Clark, who share a senior management role within Transport for London - shows that it can be done. Indeed, employers can actually benefit as long as job sharers have a good blend of skills - and a harmonious working relationship.

But not everyone is convinced. 'Organisations often see job shares as being complicated to manage, ' says Penny de Valk, managing director of Ceridian Performance Partners, which advises companies about work life balance. 'It is really important to get across to them that job sharing means two people doing the same job, not two part timers. Showing how you would communicate and hand over to each other is key.'

Ways of making the case for a job share include highlighting ways of cutting the management burden. 'For instance, there is no reason not to have your performance review together, ' says de Valk. 'Encourage your organisation to think laterally.'

Key points

Job sharing within the construction industry is not as widespread as other business sectors

It is rare to find a man and a woman sharing a management position

Job sharing offers flexibilty which can help achieve a successful work-life balance

It helps for job sharers to have complementary skills

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