The number of atypical employees in Germany remains stable

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BerlinAtypical employment in Germany has not spread in the past few years, contrary to widespread prejudice. Around one in five employees worked in a mini-job in 2017, part-time with a maximum of 20 hours a week, in temporary employment or on a temporary basis. The quota has been relatively constant for years. Nevertheless, there are clear differences between West and East, the states and the genders.

This is shown by a study by the Economics and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the trade union-related Hans Böckler Foundation. The atypical employment rate is based on the so-called core workers – the 15- to 64-year-olds who are not in education or who are involved in voluntary services.

Between 1991 and 2007, the share of atypical workers in the core labor force increased from 12.8 to 22.6 per cent. Reasons are besides the employment slump in the east after the reunification also legal easements with the limitation of employment contracts or mini jobs.

However, with the onset of the employment boom after the 2009 recession, the rate of atypical employment dropped sharply to 20.8 percent in 2017. Of the women in employment, just under every third does not have a classic full-time job, with the men being the eighth.

While male employees are increasingly less likely to work part-time or temporary jobs as they grow older, there is no clear trend among female employees. However, the highest rate is among 35- to 44-year-old women (34.1 percent) – in a phase of life in which the profession is often subordinated to childcare.

Foreigners from third countries, but also from EU countries, are much more frequently atypical than Germans. Study author Eric Seils and Helge Baumann also attribute the fact that the rate has increased slightly in 2017 compared to the previous year. It is easier for refugees, for example, to gain a foothold in the German labor market with a minijob or temporary work.

Differences east and west

Interesting is the East-West comparison. While in the year of reunification the rate of atypical workers in both parts of the country was just over 13 percent, today it is almost 22 percent in the old Länder and just over 16 percent in the new federal states.

This is mainly because more women have started working in the West, but often only work part-time. In the East, on the other hand, following the tradition of GDR times, a full-time job for women is much more common.

According to the Federal Statistical Office 2017, 49 percent of mothers with underage children worked part-time in the East in 2017, while the proportion in the West was 74 percent. "The increase in atypical employment is predominantly attributable to women in the West German federal states," says the WSI study.

The rates of atypically employed persons in eastern Germany are correspondingly low, ranging from 14 percent in Brandenburg to 17.6 percent in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. At similar low levels in the west only Hamburg with 17.9 percent. Bavaria alone remains below the 20 percent mark of the West German territorial states, while the highest rates are in the Saarland (24 percent) and Bremen (26.2 percent).

According to the authors, the policy should incentivize more full-time employment: in view of the anticipated shortage of labor supply in the future, it would be "flanking the trend towards longer working hours for part-time women", they write. "A further expansion of child care would certainly be suitable."

More: In large parts of Germany full employment prevails. Businesses must increasingly fight for skilled workers.

Atypical employment (t) State (t) East (t) West (t) Woman (t) Man (t) Gender (t) Full time (t) Part time (t) Core labor (t) Escape (t) Refugees (t) Mini-job (t) GDR (t) Full employment (t) Study (t) Labor market (t) Labor market figures (t) Working time (t) Family and work (t) Part-time work (t) WSI (t) Hans Böckler Stiftung

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