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Spare capacity  Switzerland has highest underemployment rate in Europe

A young woman looking for a job sits in the waiting room at the regional employment service center, RAV

Swiss women are particularly keen to work more.

(Keystone)

In 2018, 7% of Switzerland's workforce claimed they would like to work more. Women are the most affected.

According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) figures published on Tuesday, Switzerland’s labour pool has 830,000 people. This includes 356,000 underemployed individuals, 231,000 unemployed and 243,000 people who are looking for work but not available to start immediately. 

The additional volume of work desired by underemployed and unemployed people corresponded to a lack of work of 299,000 full-time equivalents, according to the FSO figures.

Almost half of those underemployed in 2018 (part-time workers who would like to work more and would be available) wanted to increase their working hours by more than ten hours per week. It even exceeded 20 hours per week for more than 20% of these workers.

  + Find out more about Swiss work culture

The underemployment rate is also high in Spain (5.6%), Cyprus (5.4%) and Greece (5.2%). It reaches 3.4% in the European Union (28 countries). In all EU and EFTA countries, with the exception of Romania, the underemployment rate for women is higher than for men.

In Switzerland, the work shortage is significantly worse for women compared to men (the equivalent of 164,000 full-time positions compared to 134,000).

Women make up the bulk of the potential labour pool. They represent 58.9% of "available people, not searching for a job" and 56.7% of "job seekers, not available".

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