Partners rarely both work full-time

14/06/2004 10:00

Dutch couples are most likely to have a combination of a full-time and a part-time job. In addition relatively many couples consist of only one partner working full-time, while the other does not have a paid job. A combination of a full-time and a part-time job is most popular among couples with underage children.

Men work full-time, women part-time or not at all

The most common combination of working hours among couples in the Netherlands is a man with a full-time job and a woman with a part-time job. In 2003 one in just over three couples had such a combination. The situation in which only one of the two partners has a job is also quite common: in nearly 30 percent of couples one partner (nearly always the man) works full-time, while the other does not have a job.

Labour participation of couples, 2003

Labour participation of couples, 2003

Women’s age determines labour participation

The labour market position of couples shows a strong correlation with the age of the woman. The combination full-time/part-time is very popular in couples where the woman is between 25-49 years old. This combination was reported by four out of ten couples with women in this age group.

In couples where the woman is younger than 25 or older than 49 this combination is considerably less popular. Couples in which both partners have a full-time job are usually those where the woman is relatively young. Around one in three couples where the woman is younger than 25 combine two full-time jobs.

Labour participation of couples by woman’s age

Labour participation of couples by woman’s age

Few couples with children have two full-time jobs

The main reason that the labour participation of couples differs so strongly and correlates with women’s age is the presence of children. This is very visible among couples where women are between 25 and 49 years of age, as this is the period in which most women have children. Only 6 percent of couples with underage children have two full-time working partners, while 46 percent combine a full-time job with a part-time job. The combination full-time job/no job is twice as popular among couples with children than among those without.

Labour participation of couples where the woman is 25-49 years old, by family composition

Labour participation of couples where the woman is 25-49 years old, by family composition

Tanja Traag