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Part-Time Employment in Switzerland

Relevance, Impact and Challenges


Irenka Krone-Germann

In recent labour market history, one of the most striking features has been the increase in part-time employment. In Switzerland, one person out of three works part-time. 57% of women work part-time compared to only 13% of men. This disparity between women and men is one of the highest worldwide. At the same time, differences in the level of education between genders are disappearing. Given the magnitude of this phenomenon, new questions and challenges need to be addressed.
By presenting several econometrical models and taking into account historical and social gender focused behaviors, the author analyzes the impact of part-time employment on earning disparities, labour market segmentation and the probability of being promoted to a higher level of responsibility. While introducing ways to improve the situation for part-timers, the author examines innovative models of work organization such as job-sharing, top-sharing, functional flexibility and project team rotations. Beyond demonstrating the need for changes within public and private companies, the book also reveals concrete instruments on policy which could facilitate the implementation of such innovative models.


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1. Reality and challenges: an introductory note - 1


11. Reality and challenges: an introductory note 1.1 Motivation In recent labour market history, one of the most striking features has been the increase of non-standard employment arrangements. These types of arrangements refer to atypical and alternative employment arrangements which are often called flexible staffing arrangements. The utilization of these flexible labour arrangements has been, nonetheless, the source of much controversy in the past twenty years. Nowadays part-time employment is becoming more and more common in the OECD countries, more specifically in Switzerland. In the Swiss labour market, part-time work remains the most wide- spread employment schedule among flexible standard arrangements: out of the overall active population, one employee out of three works part-time and more than half of all women are part-timers. Female part-time workers represent 57 % of the active population which is far more than the same proportion of male part-timers (13 %). The pro- gression of part-time activities among men and women has also been five times higher in the past years than the work progression for full-timers (SFSO, 2009). In international comparison, Switzerland ranks second just after the Netherlands in terms of the highest percent- age of female part-time employees worldwide. When considering the overall number of part-timers (including men and women), Switzer- land ranks fourth worldwide after the Netherlands, Japan and Australia (ILO, 2009). Although forms of involuntary part-time schedules still exist, part- time employment is becoming more and more a desirable work arrange- ment to conciliate private and professional obligations. Despite the potential...

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