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Employment participation More Swiss work part time

A job opportunity high above the ground.


A study of employment rates by the Federal Statistics Office has revealed a larger proportion of Swiss are in the employment market than the European Union average, but also that they are more likely to work part time.

The proportion of people in Switzerland aged 15-64 who were either in work or looking for work rose from 81.2 per cent to 82.8 per cent  between 2001-11. The average over the 27 countries of the European Union – to which Switzerland does not belong – was 71.2 per cent in 2011.

Amongst the combined EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, only EFTA  member Iceland had a higher proportion than Switzerland at 84.5 percent.

But the Statistics Office pointed out although such a large proportion of the Swiss population is in the labour market, a third of them work only part time. This compares with an average of 19.5 per cent in the EU as a whole. Only the Netherlands, where half the employed hold part-time jobs, has a higher rate than Switzerland.

When this is taken into account and converted to full-time equivalent jobs the proportion of 15 to 64 year olds in the Swiss job market is only 71.4 per cent.

Men are still more likely to be in the job market than women are – 88.7 per cent participation compared with 76.7 per cent  – although the gap has narrowed in the last ten years. However, 57.8 per cent of working women have part-time jobs compared with 13.6 per cent for men.


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