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Part-Time Employment in Switzerland

Relevance, Impact and Challenges

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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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5. Labour market segmentation and part-time work - 131

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5. Labour market segmentation and part-time work 5.1 Introduction An important labour market characteristic which may strongly have an impact on part-time employment is, as mentioned already, that of the dual labour market. To focus on this issue, the segmented labour mar- ket theory (SLM) aims to understand this dichotomy inside the labour market. However, as noted by Sousa-Poza (2004), little research exists on labour market segmentation in the Swiss market. One of the main reasons for this is that Switzerland has experienced (at least in com- parison to other countries) very few problems in the past in relation to its labour market. The situation has changed in the last decades, how- ever, with the unemployment rate peaking higher in the 90s and, more recently, with regard to the world economic crisis which has had a di- rect effect on the employment rate in several branches of the Swiss economy. If labour market segmentation can be identified and if part-time jobs suffer undesirable characteristics on certain segments of the market, such as slow advancement and low rewards to human capital invest- ments67, its impact on wage discrimination should be even higher. The following analysis therefore aims at testing the viability of a dual labour market for part-time employees in Switzerland and its im- pact. For this purpose, we will consider one major technique of the SLM theory, namely the endogenous switching model with one known and with unknown regime, and apply it to data taken from the SESS 2006. Before...

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