Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Therese Norman
Chapter 28: Gender-specific dynamics in hours worked: exploring the potential for increasing hours worked in an ageing society
The Dutch labour market differs from that of other countries due to a unique combination of high employment rates and a low average number of hours worked. Dutch employment rates are among the highest in the world, at 77 per cent in 2011. At the same time, the average number of hours worked annually per employed person is one of the lowest, at 1377 hours in 2011. The OECD average for these variables in 2011 was 65 per cent and 1750 hours, respectively (OECD, 2012). Like many other countries, the Netherlands faces a decline in the working-age population as a result of ageing and declining birth rates. The implications of these phenomena pose a serious threat to the current welfare level, but given the unique situation of the Dutch labour market, increasing the total number of hours worked seems to be an obvious solution to maintaining the level of per capita wealth. However, low working hours might be difficult to change, due to established preferences of employees. The aim of this study is to explore the possibilities for increasing the number of hours worked by workers currently active in the labour market. The low average number of hours worked in the Netherlands is the result of a high proportion of part-time employment, along with an autonomous downward trend in the total number of hours worked (Statistics Netherlands, 2011).
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