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Less than half of women employed at capacity worldwide

Monday, July 9, 2012  
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Women are significantly less likely than men to be employed at capacity in countries around the world, according to a recent Gallup study.

Women were employed under-capacity in 38 of the 144 -- or one-fourth -- of countries where Gallup collected employment data in 2011. Worldwide, an average of 43 percent of women and 49 percent of men in the workforce are employed at capacity for an employer.

Gallup conducted phone or face-to-face surveys with 187,119 women and men, aged 15 and older, and determined the percentage of adults in the workforce who are working full time for an employer and those who are working part time for an employer and say they do not want full-time work.

In the United States, 61 percent of women are working at capacity, compared to 70 percent of men, for a 9-point gender gap. In Canada, 69 percent of women and 68 percent of men are working at capacity.

The gender gap is at least 15 percentage points in 13 countries, but is as wide as 22 points or more in Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Bolivia. Women outperform men by double digits in just four countries: Ireland, Mongolia, Finland and Serbia.

Despite the gender gaps, relatively large percentages of women are employed at capacity for an employer in many countries. At least three in four women in 17 countries, including Kuwait, Singapore, Sweden, Slovakia and Belgium, work at capacity for an employer. At the other end of the spectrum, the percentages of women working at capacity are in the low single digits in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Guinea and Nepal, highlighting a desperate need for better economic opportunities for women in these countries. Countries with a low level of employment for an employer tend to have lower gross domestic products and men and women struggle to find good jobs in these countries.

These patterns may reflect higher education levels in certain regions and the tendency for those with more education to be more likely to be working at capacity for an employer, according to Gallup.

Unemployed, underemployed

Women are also more likely than men to be unemployed and underemployed. Worldwide, 10 percent of the female workforce is unemployed, compared with 7 percent of the male workforce. Twenty percent of women are underemployed, compared with 15 percent of men. (Underemployment includes people who are unemployed or who are working part time but want full-time work.)

Also, women in some countries perceive the job climate in their communities worse than men do, but these gaps are far less common than the gaps in actual employment. In 10 countries, women are at least 10 points less likely than men are to say it is a good time to find a job in the city or area where they live. Nations with a high gross domestic product tend to have the largest gender differences, led by Sweden, Canada and Denmark.

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