Why part-time workers are less happy than full-timers in Germany

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Why part-time workers are less happy than full-timers in Germany
A working mother works at home with her young child. Most part-time workers in Germany are women. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Silvia Marks

Part-time can be more stressful than a full-time job in Germany, a new study has found.


With flexible working hours and more time for hobbies and life admin, part-time work often sounds like a very desirable option for employees. But a recent study by the regional jobs portal has shown that part-time workers in Germany are more dissatisfied with many aspects of their working life than full-time workers in Germany - and more stressed.

The study, which was made exclusively available to Spiegel, found that one-fifth of part-time workers rated their own state of health as "less good" or "poor" - around five percent more than among full-time employees. Only 44.6 percent of part-time workers rated their own state of health as "very good" or "good" - compared to 54 percent for full-timers. 


A lot of part-time workers also reported feeling disadvantaged when it comes to further training: while just under 56 percent of full-time employees said they regularly receive company training, only 44 percent of part-time employees reported the same. 

Just under one-third of part-time workers said they felt "quite stressed" by their work situation, and just under seven percent said they felt "very stressed". The biggest factor was psychological stress, which affected more than half; while around 40 percent complained about deadline pressure and lack of time, and around a third about overtime and extra work.

READ ALSO: Why a record high number of employees went on sick leave in Germany in 2022

According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), the part-time rate of mothers is almost ten times higher than that of fathers in Germany and mothers of younger children in Germany work part-time twice as often as the EU average.

Through Germany's 'Elternzeit' (parental leave) system, it is common for mothers to work part-time until their child turns three, with many staying on a reduced work schedule.

The part-time rate for women, in general, is 47.5 percent, while the figure for men is only 10.7 percent. It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that it is mainly women in Germany who are most affected by the stress of part-time work.

A study by the market research institute Bilendi in September 2022 also uncovered dissatisfaction amongst part-time workers in Germany. The survey of a total of 3,000 full-time and part-time professionals aged 18 to 65 found that two-thirds of part-time workers said they were feeling the effects of the skilled worker shortage, while more than a quarter were working overtime because of absent colleagues. Just under a third said work had become more compressed compared to pre-Covid times.

Lots of part-time workers in Germany

According to a survey conducted by the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) in December 2022, Germany has the fourth highest part-time employment rate in Europe, at around 28 percent of total employment - behind the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. 


Last year, the number of part-time employees in Germany rose by two percent, compared to a 1.3 percent rise in full-time employees. This was also due to growth in industries with a high proportion of part-time workers, such as the hospitality industry and education.

READ ALSO: Foreign workers filled over two-thirds of new jobs in Germany in 2022

Part-time jobs also rose to a record level as, for the first time, more than ten percent of employees were logging 32 hours of work a week or less.


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