Managing at 100 percent - part-time: the possibilities of part-time work in managerial positions

In many companies, part-time work is still seen as a “career brake” or even as a “career killer” – for both men and women. And this is especially true in managerial roles. But there is huge potential in part-time work, particularly with a view to the impending shortage of skilled workers. The "Familienfreundliche Wirtschaftsregion Basel" has therefore turned part-time management into a serious talking point for 2016.

Since adoption of the initiative against mass immigration, the debate about the future of the Swiss labour market has become an urgent issue. The trend is evident: more than one million people will retire in the next ten years, and at the same time, fewer young people will be entering the labour market. According to estimates, a shortage of up to half a million workers is to be expected and they must now be found mainly in Switzerland.

Flexibility required

One possible solution would be to increase part-time work in managerial positions. Because “part-time” does not mean employees only work 50% of the time, it can be as much as 90% or 80% - and this is not really accepted in managerial positions in today’s working climate. As a result, the numerous well-educated women in Switzerland are often working in positions for which they are over-qualified. At the same time, more and more men would like to have the opportunity to manage part-time. In fact the young employees of Generation Y plead to have more flexibility in terms of time at work. And in ten years’ time, they will make up three-quarters of the working population. Companies that embrace these changes and offer reduced workload (also in managerial positions) are readying themselves optimally in the competition for qualified employees.

Evidence shows that having part-time managers works

The fact is, offering part-time managerial positions is not only worthwhile economically but it also makes good business sense, given the current developments. Some experts are convinced that part-time management is possible in every industry and every position right up to “top sharing”. Know-how and responsibility would rest on a much broader basis, it would widen the scope for innovation and increase motivation - and as a consequence also the quality of the leadership. It is usually only the company culture and the understanding of leadership that pose an obstacle to this change. Especially the so-called "presence culture", in which performance, commitment and identification with the company are measured based on the presence of the employees.

Impetus for putting this change into practice: "Familienfreundliche Wirtschaftsregion Basel"

It is essential to have detailed information and an enhanced discussion on the subject of part-time work in managerial positions. That is why the "Familienfreundliche Wirtschaftsregion Basel" (family-friendly economic region of Basel) has made this topic the focus of their work in 2016. As a Public-Private Partnership, coordinated by Office for the Equality of Men and Women of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, it is committed to family-friendly working and framework conditions in the economic region of Basel. It serves as a platform for networking between private and public employers, industry associations and administrations, as well as for professional exchanges of practical examples about how part-time work in managerial positions can work successfully in everyday life.

Good examples wanted

Help create a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges involved with part-time work in managerial positions. Provide us with information and good examples. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.



Department of Presidential Affairs of the Canton of Basel-Stadt
Office for Gender Equality
Rahel Zimmermann
Marktplatz 30a
4001 Basel

Phone: +41 61 267 66 65
Email: familienfreundliches-basel(at)