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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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3. Part-time employment and vertical segregation - 49


49 3. Part-time employment and vertical segregation 3.1 Introduction Today, as before, the top of the corporate ladder remains occupied by labour forces representing full-timers who often consider part-time ac- tivity incompatible with their function. Taking into consideration the increasing importance of part-time workers, following chapter on vertical segregation investigates the pre- vailing correlation in the Swiss labour market between part-time and full-time employees and their hierarchical position. Our analysis15 is divided into four parts: first, we introduce some general theoretical considerations on vertical segregation and on the concepts of discrimination and lost opportunities. This introduction also includes some preliminary reminders on the dual market segmentation and on the dilemma of the so-called ideal worker (full-time employee). Second, we present the current statistical situation of part-time em- ployees in Switzerland and their hierarchical position inside private companies or public entities. We then focus on the Duncan dissimi- larity index16 between full and part-time workers and build up our analysis on an ordered probit estimation to better specify the probability of both types of workers in occupying specific hierarchical positions in relation to their individual and employment characteristics. Finally, after simulating a model in which part-time workers receive the same coefficients regarding the characteristics of their full-time counterparts and vice versa (based on Oaxaca Blinder’s theory), we use the Duncan dissimilarity index again to specify the explained and unexplained part of the differences in occupying a hierarchical position. This last com- 15 Part of this analysis is also published in Praz,...

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