In 1993 it was estimated that in industrialized countries in general, 60 million people or 14% of workers held a part-time job, many without the benefits of protection give to full-time employees. In some countries this rose to 25%. Although the majority of these workers work part-time by choice, many are forced to accept such jobs because of the lack of full-time opportunities on a persistently weak labour market. It has also been estimated in 1993 that in the 24 OECD industrialized countries, more than 25% of women hold part-time jobs, compared to 4% of men. In the recovery from the recession in the USA, an unprecedented proportion of new jobs created have been either temporary or part-time. Over 60% of the 1.25 million new jobs created in the first 6 months of 1993 were part-time. Of the full time jobs, many were temporary or short-term contracts.
In 1999, in the European Union, over nine men out of 10 worked full time, but 15% of them preferred part-time work, for themselves as well as for their partners. Only one European out of five worked part-time; that is, not more than 30 hours a week. Those in full-time employment entertained all sorts of fears as regards part-time work. More than half of them believed that their employer would not accept it, while just as many felt that they would be unable to do all that was required of them if they were to work part-time. And nearly half of those with full-time jobs feared that their careers would suffer if they were to work part-time, while some four-fifths of them believed that part-time workers were losing out in terms of labour legislation and social security.