Partly as a result of modern employment trends, and partly as a result of the pandemic’s effect on the world of work, there’s an increasing gap between traditional full-time employment and freelancing. So-called “job pairing” splits a full-time position between two people to reduce working hours without sacrificing the career continuity of those involved.
Roleshare is a talent marketplace that matches professionals with each other so they can both apply and share one full-time job. The startup has now raised an initial pre-seed funding round of over $550,000 from largely U.K.-based super angels to build a global “rolesharing” marketplace, and is now committed to launching with “large multi-sector organizations”, it says.
The idea here is that companies end up being able to both retain their top talent, as well as bring in new talent at the same time.
Sophie Setareh Smallwood, co-founder and co-CEO of Roleshare, told me over a call: “Job-sharing has been around for some time. It started to become a thing in the 70s when women started to become more active in the workforce. In the private sector, it’s something that has happened in an ad hoc capacity, whether it’s about juggling parenting duties or whatever.”
Since senior strategic roles are not really “part-time-able”, job-sharing becomes an interesting solution, she told me.
“But it’s not something that’s easy to solve for, right? There’s an interpersonal element of putting two people together, to, in essence, share the responsibilities of a job.
Roleshare says it makes all this easier for companies to find out if any of their roles are able to be “job shared” and then matches-up candidates. Individuals can add their jobs for free (clearly a “Trojan horse” into the enterprise), or companies can, for a fee. This means it provides liquidity of talent for companies seeking to make some roles a job-share.
Roleshare quotes a U.K. study that shows employees who share jobs are 30% more productive than those who do not, because it helps with work-life balance and alleviates job-related stress. It can also increase diversity, skills and greater business continuity inside companies, says the startup.
“Our solution has been described as ‘third way’ by MIT Sloan Management Review” Smallwood told me over email.
She added that the “competitive landscape is broad” but that there are “not very many direct competitors.” TechCrunch understands some might include Tandemploy (DE), duome (U.K.) and jobpairing (U.S.), although Roleshare appears to have a slightly different take on the market, by comparison.
According to the World Economic Forum, by 2027, 50% of the workforce will be freelance. An MIT Sloan Management Review/Deloitte survey indicated that nearly 90% of managers consider external workers to be part of their workforce.
Setareh Smallwood added: “What makes us unique is our team (ex PayPal, Facebook, eBay), and our story. Roleshare didn’t exist when I needed it, so I quit Facebook to build it. We are the only talent marketplace that allows companies to source talent pairs for specific roles internally and externally, our platform matches talent from both sides to co-apply and share roles. We also uniquely allow talent to post their existing jobs as shareable as a form of direct sourcing.”
Roleshare has been backed by a number of European angels, including Ian Hogarth, Azeem Azhar, Gabbi Cahane, Brendan Gill and Thish Nadesan, among several others.