Women still make up the bulk of Europe’s part-time workers
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Women still make up the bulk of Europe’s part-time workers

Credit: Anastasia Shuraeva / Pexels

Women make up over three quarters of all part-time workers in the EU, according to figures released by the Belgian statistical office Statbel, which compiles national and European figures related to the economy and society.

Though there has been an increase in the number of men taking on part-time jobs, 77% of part-time employees today are women.

The motives differ: while most men say they take part-time work because it’s the only type of work arrangement possible for the desired job, women say they work part-time in order to care for children and other dependents, followed closely by other personal or family reasons.

Statbel also found that women work part-time more often depending on the number of children they have. About a quarter (25.4%) of women between the ages of 25 and 49 who don’t have children work part-time. For every additional child under the age of 17, that percentage increases.

The opposite is the case for men.

“Men with children are more likely to work full-time than men without children,” Statbel said.

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The figures regarding part-time work vary greatly between EU countries, with 24.9% of Belgian workers on a part-time schedule and over half (51.6%) of Dutch workers. Three quarters (75.8%) of women with a job in the Netherlands are working it part-time.

Germany and Austria were the next countries with the highest portion of part-time employees, with figures closer to those of Belgium (which came in 4th in the EU for highest share of part-time employees).

The country with the least amount of part-time workers was Bulgaria (2.1%), and the countries with the next-lowest share of part-time employees were Slovakia (5%), Croatia (5.4%), Hungary (5.7%) and Poland (6.7%).

The EU average is 19.1%.

It used to be that half-time work (50% of a full-time work week) was the most common form of part-time employment, but now 4/5 is the norm for men and women both.

The total number of women between the ages of 15 and 64 who participate in the overall workforce has increased from 36% in 1983 to 61% in 2020.