In Bulgaria, the latest data from the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) reveals a notable trend: in the third quarter of 2023, both women and men registered equal shares of part-time employment, each at 1%.

However, zooming out to the broader European context unveils a starkly different picture. Across the EU, during the same period, the proportion of part-time workers among employed women aged 15-64 stood at 28%, significantly higher than the 8% recorded among men. This trend persisted across all occupational categories defined by the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO).

The starkest contrast emerged in elementary occupations, encompassing roles like helpers, cleaners, or food preparation assistants. Here, women constituted 47% of part-time workers compared to just 19% of men, marking a striking 29%  point difference.

Similarly, among service and sales workers, 35% of women worked part-time, contrasting with only 16% of men. The gap extended to clerical support roles, where 29% of women opted for part-time employment, in contrast to a mere 9% of men.

While discrepancies were evident across various occupational sectors, managerial positions, and plant/machine operation roles reported relatively smaller disparities. For instance, in managerial occupations, the proportion of part-time female workers stood at 10%, while for men, it was 3%. Similarly, in plant and machine operation roles, women constituted 12% of part-time workers, compared to 4% for men.

Interestingly, at the national level, most EU countries displayed a higher share of part-time workers among women. The Netherlands emerged as a standout case, with 63% of women employed part-time, dwarfing the 23% recorded for men, marking a substantial 39 % point difference. Other notable gaps were observed in Austria (38 %) and Germany (37 %).

Romania, however, bucked the trend. Here, the proportion of men engaged in part-time employment (4%) slightly surpassed that of women (3%).