SOAS University of London

Staff Development

Job Shadowing

Job Shadowing at SOAS

  • Job shadowing provides a unique opportunity to find out how other staff work. It can help improve communications across departments and directorates. It is an excellent networking tool, an opportunity for sharing best-practice and for self-development.
  • A simple definition of job shadowing is where one person (the shadow) visits another (the host) to experience their work by observing them for an agreed period of time. Generally, this will be for one day or two half-days. Job shadowing is very often a learning experience for both parties involved who, in turn, can feed their new knowledge back to their teams.

To find out more about the different types of job shadowing available, please review the Job Shadowing at SOAS Guidelines (pdf; 230kb)  .


Job shadowing has numerous benefits for individuals, departments and institutions, including:

  • Career development
  • Broadening the knowledge and understanding of the participants' roles and departments / teams as well as broader issues in the HE sector
  • Increasing understanding of wider institutional goals and objectives
  • Bringing people together who might not normally have contact and providing networking opportunities
  • Allowing the opportunity to compare and contrast standards and achievements
  • Improving communication within the organisation
  • Providing the opportunity to observe good practice elsewhere and bring back to current role
  • Breaking down barriers and myths about how others work
  • Facilitating succession planning
Further Details

If you are interested in being a shadow or a host, please see the  Job Shadowing at SOAS Guidelines (pdf; 230kb) for more information about this scheme. This useful document includes how to prepare and what to expect as well as guidance for line managers. If you have any further queries, please contact the Staff Learning and Development office.

How to Apply

To apply to be a shadow, please complete the Job Shadowing Application form - Shadow (msword; 824kb) . If you are interested in being a host, please complete the Job Shadowing Application form - Host (msword; 170kb)  .

Job Shadowing outside SOAS

There is also an opportunity to shadow staff at other HE Institutions through the OutsideInsight work shadowing scheme. Further details, including how to apply and the other institutions involved in the scheme, can be found at

If you have any questions, please contact in the first instance.