Factory workers in the Seventies used to yell in their protests that everybody should work, but less. Is not a mystery that the quality of free time influences our personal satisfaction and, therefore, the nervous system. Nobody loves to be stressed out from extra hours of hard work. Sometimes it has to be done, because the economics don’t leave us many choices, we got to have a roof on our head and food in our plates, that’s basic. But from Mediterranean Sea and below, we perfectly know the value of relax, of leisure. But we are not the ones that take advantage of it. Despite a fame of lazy people, are the northern Europeans, the Dutch ahead of them, to enjoy the benefits of part-time jobs.
If we associate part-time jobs to call centers, fast foods, flyering or neo-mothers, usually a disadvantaged contractual situation, in the land of tulips, coffee shops and red light districts is a winning choice for 26,8% of men and 76,6% of women, according to the Economist. The average European rate is 8,7% and 32,2% respectively. Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain and Belgium have a quarter of their labor force partially employed, Portugal is the last one on this scale with only 13% and Italy has less than 10% of companies aligned to European standards, but things are changing. +624 thousand workers in the last ten years, +2,2% each year.
As a result, the Dutch have more time than the others for private and social life, more than 50% of them practice a sport four times a week while many of us pay a gym not to go there, because overwhelmed by work. Or they enjoy family, 36% of fathers has a part-time job, 30% in Sweden and just 8% in Italy. And 39% of Dutch managers proposes part-time contracts to meet the employer’s needs.
The only side effect is that part-time jobs don’t support career advancements, but not everyone agrees. Little less than the half of the workers think that the chances remain the same, managers are even more optimistic: 61% of them think so too. The fact is the Holland has very few women among the chiefs, probably for this anomaly in their employment. Not too bad, as they say they are in perfect health and happy. Italy is at the bottom, more working time, more sedentary, less satisfied. Because, like Oscar Wilde said, “work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do”.