Susan George: Job sharing – can it work in Nevada County? |

Susan George: Job sharing – can it work in Nevada County?

Susan George
The Union Columnist

The April 2019 Nevada County unemployment rate remains low at 3.4 percent. With that good news comes the challenge of finding qualified employees to fill the job openings. Job sharing is a strategy worth considering to help increase the pool of qualified candidates. The arrangement employs two people who cooperatively work part-time at the same full-time job. There are pros and cons with job sharing, but they can be successful when the arrangement is appropriate for the open position and the work partners are committed to working as a team.

The model offers clear advantages to both employees and employers. Employees are increasingly drawn to achieving a balance between success on the job and enjoyment outside of the workplace. A job share schedule will provide more time for outside interests. The coverage for unexpected family events and scheduled vacations is easier on both the employee and the employer when a job share partner is available to fill in. The shared job can also be a way for an employer to hold on to two valued employees who are no longer able or want to work full time. Another plus is the extra time available to pursue higher education and training goals, each important investments in the future of the employee and the employer’s business.

The job share concept is not without challenges. Each partner must effectively communicate with each other to avoid confusion and duties being overlooked. Compromise and learning the best ways to work together are necessary. Determining employee benefits such as health insurance, profit sharing and retirement could be complicated. But with planning and mutual agreement, these are not insurmountable difficulties.

The large population of seniors in Nevada County remains an untapped pool of potential employees. Their talents and skills as volunteers help support many key community programs and services. Why not suggest job sharing to seniors to help fill some of the positions requiring experience and transferable skills? The social interaction and financial gain could prove to be very appealing to seniors, while still allowing ample time to enjoy semi-retirement.

No matter the age of a job seeker, job sharing arrangements can be a viable alternative to full-time work. The arrangement could consist of partners with similar skills or with skills that complement each other’s strengths. Researchers have proven the old cliché to be true. Two heads are better than one. I know two people who shared a job at the Apple campus in Cupertino. The arrangement worked well for them and for Apple. Could job share arrangements increase the pool of qualified employees? Would job sharing work in Nevada County? We present the Meet Your Match Job Fair, how about a Meet Your Match Job Share Event? The possibilities are worth exploring.

California Employment Development Department offers a work sharing program to any employer who has a reduction in production, services or other conditions. A minimum number of employees must be affected by a reduction in hours not to exceed 60 percent. This program works well for employers with businesses that experience seasonal influences resulting in peak and slower production periods. For more information, go to

Susan George is a co-founder of The Nevada County Regional Chambers of Commerce. She can be reached at

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