[Excerpt] Since the 1980s, most industrial societies have experienced a marked trend towards the diversification, decentralisation and individualisation of working time patterns, driven both by companies’ needs for greater adaptability in order to meet market constraints, and by large changes in the gender division of labour. At the same time, and linked to the increased participation of women in the labour force, various forms of working time arrangements have become more widespread, in particular part-time work. However, it is largely women who have taken advantage of the increased diversity and flexibility of working time.
Drawing on data from Eurofound’s fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), based on interviews with more than 38,000 respondents in 34 countries, this report documents the prevailing working time patterns of employees, the self-employed and lone parents across five country clusters. It also analyses the relationship between paid employment and domestic activities, work–life balance and working time preferences across the life course.