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Women are catching up in the labor market – employment is growing but mainly through part-time employment

International Women's Day on 8 March
07 Mar 2018 | Press Release No. 8

CEO of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Holsboer: Many women strive for a higher number of working hours

Between 2013 and 2017, the number of employees subject to social security insurance contributions increased by 2.5 million; most recently, to 32.2 million. This growth also benefits women, whose employment rose 8.3 percent to 14.9 million, during the same period.

The female employment rate confirms this trend. Obtained ratio provides information about the proportion of employees subject to social security insurance contributions, between ages of 15 and 65. Between 2013 and 2017, female employment rose from 51.3 to 55.4 percent - which means that more than 55 percent of all women in Germany work in a job subject to social security insurance contributions. However, the rate is still below that of men, whose employment rate was 61.8 percent (2013: 58.8 percent).

Women in Eastern Germany have higher employment rates than men

The employment rate also clearly shows different employment trends for women in East and West. While the employment rate of West German women is 54.5 percent, 59.5 percent of East German women are employed. Thus, the employment rate of East German women is even higher than that of men, by 0.1 percentage point.

Employment grows mainly through part-time employment

However, the employment growth among women is mainly due to part-time employment. The part-time employment has increased by 14 percent to 7.06 million, in the last four years; while the increase for female full-time employees was only 3.5 percent.

Altogether, 47 percent of all employed women subject to social security insurance contributions work part-time. For men, it is just under 11 percent. "Almost every second woman employed works part-time. "This proportion has been rising for years," says Valerie Holsboer, CEO of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). There are various reasons for part-time work. Often, women limit working hours due to caring responsibilities for children or close relatives. "From surveys of the Institute for Labour Market and Employment Research of the German Federal Employment Agency we know that every second woman would like to extend her working time," says Holsboer. "We need these women in the labour market, in order to meet the demand of companies for skilled labour. For this, however, the provision of good childcare services is also a prerequisite."