12 April 2023, by Victoria Séveno

New data published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reveals that, even among recent graduates in the Netherlands, women are much more likely to enter the job market as part-time workers than their male counterparts. 

14 percent of Dutch women work part-time within a year of graduating 

When looking at the first nine years of work for men and women who graduated from higher education between 2007 and 2009, the Dutch statistics office found that women are more likely to work up to 35 hours a week than men with a similar level of education.

While the sexes are equally likely to find jobs within a year of completing their studies, 14 percent of women start on part-time contracts within 12 months of graduating – double the figure reported for men, who often tend to enter the workforce as full-time workers.

Over the course of the first nine years post-graduation, the gap between male and female workers only grows. Nine years after leaving university, less than 10 percent of men work part-time, compared to 40 percent of women. When looking at women with an MBO diploma (i.e. women who didn’t attend university and completed a vocational training course), this figure rises to 67 percent. 

CBS: Women work in sectors were part-time jobs are common

CBS attributes these high numbers among female employees to a variety of factors. For starters, the statistics office explains that women are “more likely to follow studies that prepare for work in sectors where part-time jobs are common,” such as education or healthcare. However, even when taking this into account, researchers note that women are still “less likely to have a full-time job one year after completing their education.”

Family and relationship status also plays a role. Perhaps unsurprisingly, women are more likely to switch to part-time work after becoming mothers. The same is true among men who start families, although according to CBS “the vast majority of men continue to work full-time, even when they become fathers.” 

Interestingly, women were more likely to make the switch from full to part-time work, even if they were single or didn’t have children, regardless of their level of education – although women with partners and children remain the most likely to pursue part-time employment. Among men, the opposite is true; men who lived with partners were less likely to switch to part-time work than those without a live-in partner.

Thumb: Jacob Lund via Shutterstock.com.

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