More and more women, in particular the youngest generations, participate on the labour market. As a result of this development, the distribution of working hours between partners has also changed. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the most frequent combination today is for one partner to have a full-time job and for the other partner to have a large part-time job.
More two-income couples
Older-generation women often chose to stop working altogether when they became mothers, whereas younger-generation women tend to continue working.
In the present generation of 35-year-old women – women born in the first half of the 1970s – with a partner, 75 percent are working, versus only 55 percent of women born in the 1950s. A similar shift is found for 45 and 55-year-old women living with a partner.
The labour participation of 25-year-old women has increased less rapidly for successive generations. The majority of women are employed and have no children at this age. Most 25-year-old women born after 1965 belong to two-income households.
Vrouwen met partner, die beiden werken, naar geboortecohort
Men hold full-time jobs, women large part-time jobs
The combination of one full-time job (35 hours a week or more) and one large part-time job (20 to 35 hours) has grown most rapidly. Over 50 percent in the present generation of 35-year-old women, belong to such two-income households, as against 29 percent of 35-year-old women in the older generation.
Couples with only one working partner are rare these days; 18 percent in the youngest generation of 35-year-old women belong to one-income households, versus 38 percent in the generation of women born in the early 1950s.
Vrouwen met een partner, aandeel paren met één voltijdbaan en grote deeltijd baan, naar geboortecohort
More two-income households
The share of two-income households has risen rapidly within two decades, but the total number of working hours of both partners has hardly changed between 1992 and 2013. The combined number of working hours for 35-year-old women born in the late 1950s was 63 hours and more than 65 hours for 35-year-old women born in the early 1970s. For women living in two-income households aged 25, 45 and 55 years, the combined amount of working hours has also hardly increased or even declined marginally in two decades. This is an indication that, as soon as both partners are working, the total number of working hours for couples will hardly change.