Flexible employment models and the Swiss Employment Flexibility Index
Currently there is a lot of focus on the demand for more flexible employment models (working part-time, working temporary jobs or interim projects, working as a freelancer, home office possibilities, etc.), especially from millennials. Contrary to a time when part-time and temporary jobs were not considered a favorable option and as such only considered by those who had no other choice, more recently flexible employment models seem to have become a viable and perhaps even preferred choice, for various reasons. Working on short- to mid-term projects in different companies for example can increase your overall knowledge and help you develop a broader skill set. Part-time roles can help in creating a more favorable work-life balance.
According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (Bundesamt für Statistik, Office fédéral de la statistique), the number of people employed in a part-time role has gone up. From 1991 to 2014, the number of women in a part-time role increased from 49% to 59%, whereas the number of men in a part-time role increased from 8% to 16%. The number of employees with a temporary or interim contract has gone from around 100,000 in 1995, to over 300,000 last year according to data of Swissstaffing. With flexible models in the past mainly having been imposed by employers for cost saving purposes, we can only assume that these numbers will increase even further now that there is a stronger push from the employee side.
Another option that is becoming more popular is working from home one or a few days a week. Some might even argue, that the location of a company is becoming less relevant for a job as employees could work from anywhere. However, the first results of a survey we are conducting show that whereas working from home a few days a week is a viable option for most, working all work days from home is rejected by the majority of respondents. This means that even though the willingness to commute a bit further might increase when not having to work from the office on all work days, the company or office location is likely to remain a relevant factor when deciding on a new job.
Perhaps evidence that we won't all be working from home in five years from now can also be seen in the huge campus-like offices that several big tech companies are building (e.g. Google, Apple, Facebook). However, they do seem to be going out of their way to make sure their employees feel at home at work. Facebook is even building a housing campus a mere 5 minute bicycle ride from its newest offices.
The Swiss Employment Flexibility Index
In line with the increasing demand for flexible employment models, talentzip created the Swiss Employment Flexibility Index (Arbeits-Flexibilität Index, Index de Flexibilité d'Emploi) to provide an overview of the supply side. Using data collected on the first work day of each month, the index will track the number of part-time and temporary job offers on the Swiss market and a dedicated coefficient will be calculated to represent the market's overall flexibility. The number of positions offering home office possibilities is impossible to determine at the moment as this information is not an integral part of most job specifications and is often discussed as a separate benefit or on request of a candidate. However, perhaps we will see this option added as an additional search filter on job boards or career sites in the future.
The first data for the index was collected in June 2015. On the benchmark day in July a total of 115,908 jobs were advertised by companies and recruitment agencies. This was an increase of 2% over June. Of the jobs advertised in July, 7336 (+5.4% over June) were temporary & interim positions, representing 6.3% of the total. The majority (85%) of these positions was advertised by agencies, meaning that companies rely heavily on agencies to fill temporary & interim vacancies (see chart below). Hence, candidates looking for a temporary or interim role should focus their search mainly on agencies. Higher level positions (leader jobs) only make up 6% of all temporary & interim vacancies, compared with 15% for permanent jobs.
The increase of temporary & interim positions in July can partly be explained by the summer period, with companies in for example the tourism and hospitality sectors adding temporary staff. However, the numbers differed significantly across the country. Where the German part added 7.1% temporary & interim roles, with +4.9% in the canton of Zurich, in the French part there was a decrease of 4.6%. Overall someone looking for a temporary or interim position is better of in the German part: 85% of all temporary & interim roles are based here.
Looking at the number of part-time positions published in July, for which only job offers from companies directly (agencies excluded) are considered, it can be seen that full-time (100%) jobs make up the largest part of all job offers (76.6%). Jobs with a workload of 80-90% make up around 10% of the total, whereas jobs with a workload of 40-50% and 60-70% each account for approximately 6%. 20-30% jobs come in last with approximately 2%. Jobs with a workload below 20% were not considered for this statistic.
The number of part-time offers published by companies directly was stable from June to July, whereas the number of full-time offers increased slightly. As a result, the ratio of part-time to full-time vacancies decreased marginally. Among part-time offers, the proportion of temporary & interim positions is higher than among full-time offers (3.5% vs. 2.3%). Looking at it the other way around, at the number of part-time offers among temporary & interim positions, we can see that they make up almost 25%. To put it differently: not a lot of part-time jobs are temporary, but a lot of temporary jobs are part-time.
The flexibility coefficient is calculated by taking the average of the percentage of part-time offers and the percentage of temporary & interim offers. The increase in the number (and ratio) of temporary & interim roles offset the decrease in the ratio of part-time to full-time roles, keeping the coefficient at the same level (0.149) as in June.
If you want to share your view on flexible employment models you can do so by taking part in our 2015 job search survey. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire and we would be grateful for your participation.
Disclaimer: the data come from an external source and the figures and percentages mentioned should by no means be interpreted as 100% accurate. Especially part-time jobs can appear more than once in the statistic, thereby distorting the results. A role advertised with a 60-100% workload for example, will appear in the 60-70, 80-90 and 100% categories. Overall, these effects are likely to be averaged out. Nonetheless, caution should be exercised when interpreting the abovementioned results and talentzip cannot be held liable in case the numbers or calculations prove to be inaccurate.