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Part-time working continues its rise

More fathers are doing part-time work Keystone

Working part-time is becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland, particularly among men. This makes the country second only to the Netherlands in Europe in terms of people working less than 100%.

Between 2003 and 2013 the increase in the number of people working part-time was more than three times greater than those working full-time (24.5% compared with 7.1%). Overall the working population grew by 12.6%, noted the Federal Statistics Office in its Swiss Labour Force Survey 2013.


“Over ten years, the increase in part-time work was more marked among men (43.7%) than women (19.9%),” the statistics office said on Friday.

According to the statistical standards used in Switzerland, people working at 90% are considered full-time workers. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the statistics office reported that slightly more (around 20%) of employed persons worked 50%-89% compared with under 50% (around 15%).

There has been an increase in fathers working part-time. Women still lead the way, with 80.2 per cent of women living in a household with children under 15 opting to do so – a percentage that has remained stable over the last decade.

“The corresponding proportion of men working part-time remains low but increased from 5.8% in 2003 to 9.3% in 2013,” said the statistics office. “If only men living in a household with very young children (children under the age of 7) are taken into consideration, the proportion of part-time work was 10.5% in 2013.”

Almost half of part-time work is motivated by family reasons, although this was 15.7 per cent for men and 52.9% for women. Other reasons were: training and education, being unable to find full-time work, working in other employment and health reasons.

A look at professional status, however, shows that the higher up the management scale you go, the less prevalent part-time working. There are also gender differences.

In all, 19.6% of employees working in upper management do so part-time (45.2% of women compared with 8.6% of men).

European comparison

Overall, Switzerland has the second largest proportion of part-time workers after the Netherlands, the statistics office said.

The Dutch have more than three-quarters of women and more than a quarter of men working part-time. Switzerland has 61.1% women overall and 15.5% of men. The European Union average is 32.8% for women, 9.8% for  men.

“This high proportion of part-time workers offsets the high level of per capita labour market participation measured in the Swiss and Dutch populations. In terms of activity rates (proportion of economically active persons in the population aged 15 to 64), Switzerland and the Netherlands are European leaders (Switzerland: 83.3%; the Netherlands: 79.7%),” explained the statistics office.

Only the Scandinavian countries show activity rates of more than 78%, but have lower proportions of part-time work, it added.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR