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Switzerland has highest underemployment in Europe

© Mr.phonlawat Chaicheevinlikit |

In 2018, 830,000 people in Switzerland were unable to find the work they wanted, according the Federal Statistical Office.

While 243,000 were looking but not immediately available and 231,000 were unemployed, most (356,000) were underemployed – working but unable to find as many hours of work as they’d like.

The additional hours sought by underemployed workers was equivalent to 108,000 full time positions.

Switzerland has the highest rate of underemployment (7.0%) in Europe. The EU average in 2018 was 3.4%.

The next highest underemployment rates in Europe were in Spain (5.6%), Cyprus (5.4%) and Greece (5.2%). Rates in Germany (2.8%), France (5.1%), Italy (2.6%) and the UK (4.3%) were even lower than these countries.

Underemployment affects women more than men. In Switzerland, the rate of underemployment was 3.6% for men and 10.8% for women. Across the EU it was 2.1% for men and 4.8% for women.

The total work shortage in Switzerland, including the unemployed, those searching but not immediately available, and the underemployed corresponded to 299,000 full time positions. Women made up 55% of this total and men 45%.

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