European & International News

New EU figures on part-time work highlight persistence of strong gender imbalance

Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, has published fresh figures about part time work in Europe in a report entitled ’Partime Work in Europe – European Company Survey 2009’.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • In 2009 the part-time rate for women (32%) is four times the part-time rate for men (8%). Part-time work is increasing in Europe: between 1999 and 2009. The proportion of women working part-time increased from 28.5% to 32.0%, while the male part-time rate increased from 6.4% to 8.3%. While male part-time is most common in the youngest and the oldest age groups, the female part-time rate increases with age, reflecting gender inequalities in transitions from part-time to full time.
  • The difference between the part-time rates of males and females is highest in the Netherlands – where over two thirds of working women and about a quarter of working men work part-time. It is followed by Germany and Austria, while in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Lithuania the part-time rate for men is nearly the same as for women. There is a link between women’s part-time work and lack of access to childcare.
  • Although women according to the study work often part-time voluntary to balance work and family life and although it is seen as a way to increase women’s labor market participation one should bear in mind that the conditions of part-time workers are worse than those working fulltime, resulting in further gender inequalities in terms of income.
  • There are hardly any positions for highly qualified people who want to work part-time: Three quarters of European companies have no part-time workers in managing positions or in positions requiring high qualifications.

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