Forty-one percent of couples in the Netherlands combined a part-time job with a full-time job in 2004. Since 2000 this is the most popular arrangement for couples of whom both partners work. One in three young couples combine two full-time jobs. This is less common among older couples. Satisfaction with the current situation was lowest among couples of whom only one partner has a job.
Full-time and part-time job more popular
Labour participation of couples has shifted in recent years. The proportion of couples where one partner worked full-time and the other worked part-time rose from 27 percent in 1992 to 41 percent in 2004. The reason for this increase is that more women are working, especially in part-time jobs. This combination has been the most popular since 2000. The proportion of households where only one person has a job has dropped sharply: from 49 percent in 1992 to 32 percent in 2004. In these couples it is nearly always the man who works.
Labour participation of couples, 1992-2004
Work arrangements among older and younger couples
The combination of two full-time jobs is relatively popular among young couples. In 2004 just over one third of couples in which the woman was younger than thirty held down two full-time jobs. This is twice as many as average. Above the age of thirty the combination of a full-time and a part-time jobs is most common. The older the woman is, the more likely she is to have a job of 12-24 hours a week and less likely to work for between 24 and 34 hours a week.
Labour participation of couples by woman’s age, 2004
Satisfaction lowest among couples with one full-time job
For four out of five working couples, the division of work corresponds with their wishes. Couples in which one partner works full time and one part-time are the exception: only 64 percent of these couples were satisfied with the arrangement. Some 27 percent wanted to work more: 17 percent wanted a full-time job combined with a job of 12-24 hours, and 10 percent combined with a job of 24-34 hours or another full-time job.
Actual and preferred labour participation of couples, 2004
For couples in which both partners were working full-time, 20 percent would ideally like to see a change. Two-thirds of this group would prefer to combine a full-time with a job of 24-34 hours a week.
Johan van der Valk