Part-time employment in regions

Part-time employment has increased in many OECD countries during the past years, representing almost one-fifth of total employment in 2014. Depending on the institutional and economic context, part-time employment can have opposing effects on the well-being of the working population. On the one hand, part-time workers may suffer a penalty compared to their full-time counterparts in terms of job-security, training, promotion, and unemployment benefits. On the other hand, part-time employment can offer a better family-friendly working-time arrangement. In general, in the presence of the right incentives, part-time jobs seem to promote labour force participation and can be a relevant alternative to inactivity (OECD, 2015a).

The incidence of part-time employment is not evenly distributed across OECD regions. Regions in the Netherlands and Switzerland show the highest shares of part-time employment across the OECD countries considered; while the regions with the lowest share of part-time employment are found in Eastern European countries such as the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Poland (Figure 4.15). Large regional disparities within countries are found in Turkey, Australia and Chile where, in 2014, the region with highest share of part-time employment has a value more than twice as high as the region with the lowest value (Figure 4.15).

The gender composition of part-time employment is influenced not only by regional demographic characteristics but also by regulatory settings and access to family-oriented services (for example child and elderly care services), which may contribute to increasing the participation of women into the workforce. In the Province of Bolzano-Bozen (Italy), Vorarlberg (Austria), Bavaria (Germany), Basque Country (Spain), Franche-Comté (France), Northern Aegean (Turkey) and Wallonia (Belgium), women account for more than 80% of the total part-time employment, 10 percentage points higher than the OECD average (Figure 4.16). Regions with small shares of women working part-time are Southeastern Anatolia-East (Turkey), Alentejo (Portugal), West Greece and East Slovakia, where the share of women in part-time employment is lower than 50% of the total part-time employment (Figure 4.16).


The definition of part-time work varies considerably across OECD member countries. The OECD defines part-time working in terms of usual working hours fewer than 30 per week. However, for European TL2 regions, the distinction between full-time and part-time work is based on a spontaneous response by the respondent; except in the Netherlands, Iceland and Norway, where part-time is determined if the usual hours are fewer than 35 hours.

At regional level, a harmonised definition of part-time employment does not exist. Indeed, for some countries, the number of hours defining the number of part-time employees in a region differs from the OECD definition. This makes regional values differ from national estimates relying on a harmonised definition.

Incidence of part-time employment refers to the proportion of part-time employees with respect to the total number of employed persons in a region.


OECD (2015), OECD Regional Statistics (database),

Reference years and territorial level

2014; TL2.

Israel, Norway, United States and Brazil 2013. New Zealand 2012.

No regional data are available for Iceland and Korea.

Further information

OECD (2015), “The incidence of part-time employment has continued to increase: Percentage of employees aged 15-64, 2007-14”, in OECD Employment Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Figure notes

 4.16: Female part-time employment data exclude the regions of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut for Canada, and Åland for Finland.

Information on data for Israel:

4.15. Regional variation in the percentage of part-time employment, 2014 (TL2)

4.16. Share of female part-time employment: Highest and lowest, 2014 (TL2)