People work part-time for many reasons. Some can’t find a full-time job. Some need a lot of free time for nonwork responsibilities, such as school or care for a dependent child or parent. Some use this work arrangement as a way to try out a career or to break into one; others use it to gradually back out of a career into retirement. Still others combine it with another job (perhaps also part-time) that doesn’t pay enough.
After 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stopped publishing figures about the percentage of part-time workers in each occupation. However, these percentages are unlikely to have changed greatly. That’s why the following table is probably still accurate in its selection of occupations with more than 50 percent part-time workers, based on 2006 figures.
The figures for employment 2008 are for all workers, not just part-timers (but you can do the math with the percentage of part-timers to get a rough idea of how many there are). The figures for projected growth, projected annual job openings, and median annual earnings are also for all workers. Note that part-timers in most occupations earn a lower hourly rate than do full-time workers. The exceptions are a few highly-skilled health-care occupations, in which the part-timers tend to be night-shift workers, who earn a premium.
Dental Hygienists is the obvious winner in terms of both earnings and job growth, and it’s also the one requiring the highest level of skill. The occupations with the highest number of job openings have both a large workforce size and a lot of turnover. Most of these occupations tend to be held by younger workers. In some cases, there are physical demands that young people can more easily meet (e.g., Models or Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers). In other cases, the low pay and low skill requirements make the job attractive to young people with limited work experience and low income needs.
The main exception is Crossing Guards, which attracts many retirees. Municipalities like to hire them partly because they can be trusted with greater responsibility than younger workers. They enjoy the ability to find part-time work within walking distance of home. In addition, their roots in the community allow them to learn about job openings.
[Note: On some browsers, you may have to scroll down a bit to see the table.]
|Hosts and Hostesses,|
and Coffee Shop
Cafeteria, Food Concession,
and Coffee Shop
|Lifeguards, Ski Patrol,|
and Other Recreational
Protective Service Workers
Workers, All Other
Attendants, and Ticket
|Dining Room and|
and Bartender Helpers