How common and how voluntary is part-time employment?
43 million persons aged 15 to 64 in the European Union (EU) worked part-time in 2017. This represents one in five (19.4%) persons having a job in the EU. Part-time employment as a percentage of total employment has fluctuated between 15.6% and 19.6% over the last 15 years in the EU.
In 2017, this proportion was still much higher for women (31.7%) than for men (8.8%). It was also slightly higher in the euro area (21.6%) than in the EU (19.4%).
Highest share of part-time employment in the Netherlands; lowest in Bulgaria
Across the EU Member States, part-time employment was by far the most common in the Netherlands, with half (49.8%) of all employed persons aged 15 to 64 working part-time in 2017. After the Netherlands, about one in four employed persons worked part-time in Austria (27.9%), Germany (26.9%), Denmark (25.3%), the United Kingdom (24.9), Belgium (24.5%) and Sweden (23.3%).
At the opposite end of the scale, part-time employment accounted for less than 5% of all employment in Bulgaria (2.2%), Hungary (4.3%) and Croatia (4.8%). Low shares were also recorded in Slovakia (5.8%), the Czech Republic (6.2%), Poland (6.6%), Romania (6.8%), Lithuania (7.6%) and Latvia (7.7%).
Involuntary part-time work highest in southern Member States
Among those persons in the EU employed part-time in 2017, over a quarter (26.4%) did not actively choose this working pattern.
The highest shares of involuntary part-time work across the EU were recorded in Greece (70.2% of persons employed part-time) and Cyprus (67.4%), followed by Italy (62.5%), Spain (61.1%), Bulgaria (58.7%), Romania (55.8%), Portugal (47.5%) and France (43.1%).
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In contrast, involuntary part time represented less than 10% of total part-time employment in Estonia (7.5%), Belgium (7.8%), the Netherlands (8.2%), the Czech Republic (9.1%) and Malta (9.6%).