Edition 2021

Foto omschrijving: Airline crew crossing a zebra crossing while pulling a trolley at Schiphol Airport

Which jobs often cause a poor work-life balance?

At the end of 2020, during the coronavirus crisis, 7.6 percent of all employees said they experienced a work-life imbalance often or very often. This is less than in the years 2017–2019, when it was nearly 10 percent. A work-life imbalance is relatively common among employees in full-time work and among parents with young children. This is evident from the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey (NEA) conducted by CBS and TNO.

17.1%20.0%18.0%16.8%20.9%Officers of the deck, pilotsWhich jobs often cause a poor work-life balance?ChefsLorry driversPhysiciansHospitality managers

Employees with a work-life imbalance miss or neglect family activities because of their work. The opposite can also be the case, where activities with family or relatives come at the expense of work. In 2020, on average 7.9 percent of men experienced a work-life imbalance often or very often, slightly more than women (7.2 percent). The vast majority of employees (over 92 percent) indicate that they never or at most occasionally experience an imbalance.

Employees 15-74 yrs with a (regular) work-life imbalance, 2020 (%)
jaar (Highly) regular imbalance
2014 9.1
2015 8.6
2016 9.5
2017 9.8
2018 9.8
2019 9.7
2020 7.6

Often among full-time working women

Employees who work more hours are more likely to experience an imbalance. This varied from 6.1 percent of employees with a part-time job to 9.2 percent of those with a full-time job. Within the group working full-time, more women than men experienced an imbalance.

Employees 15-74 yrs with a (highly) regular work-life imbalance, by family situation and employment status, 2020 (%)
werk No child Youngest child aged 12 or under Youngest child aged 13 or over
Total 7.3 9.9 6
Part-time 5.8 8.3 4.8
Full-time 8.5 11.8 7.9

Especially parents with young children

Employed parents whose youngest child is 12 years or younger were more likely to experience regular imbalance than parents with older children, and more likely than people without children. If they are not only parents of a young child but also have a full-time job, the feeling of imbalance increases even more (11.8 percent). Women working full-time with small children were even more likely to experience imbalance than men in full-time employment: 16.2 percent compared to 11.0 percent, respectively.

(Highly) regular work-life imbalance, by family situation and employment status, 2020 (% of workers aged 15-74 yrs)
werk geslacht No child Youngest child aged 12 or under Youngest child aged 13 or over
Part-time Total, Part-time 5.8 8.3 4.8
Part-time Men, Part-time 6.2 8.1 4.8
Part-time Women, Part-time 5.6 8.4 4.8
Full-time Total, Full-time 8.5 11.8 7.9
Full-time Men, Full-time 8.4 11.0 7.0
Full-time Women, Full-time 8.9 16.2 11.8

Occupational groups with (very) frequent imbalances

The experienced work-life imbalance also differs depending on a person’s profession. In 2020, an imbalance was most common among deck officers, pilots, cooks and lorry drivers. Approximately 1 in 5 of them experienced a work-life imbalance often or very often. The occupational groups that most frequently experienced an imbalance are often those with relatively long working weeks, irregular shifts or longer periods away from home.

The questions


This web publication was developed by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in cooperation with Textcetera The Hague.
If you have a question or comment about this publication, please contact us.

Disclaimer and copyright


On this website, CBS uses functional cookies on this website to allow proper functioning of the site. These cookies do not contain personal user data and have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In addition, CBS uses analytical cookies to track visitor statistics, including the number of page views, which topics users are searching, and how visitors reach our website. The purpose is to gain insight into the functioning of the website in order to improve your user experience. We minimise traceability of visitors to our website as much as possible by anonymising the final octet (group of eight bits) of each IP address. These data are not shared with other parties. CBS does not use tracking cookies. Tracking cookies are cookies that track visitors during their browsing of other websites.

The functional and analytical cookies have minimal or no consequences for your privacy. In accordance with current regulations, these cookies may be placed without prior consent.

More information (in Dutch only): https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/telecommunicatie/vraag-en-antwoord/mag-een-website-ongevraagd-cookies-plaatsen

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

About CBS

CBS responds to developments in Dutch society by providing statistical information as facts that matter, and communicates on these facts with the outside world. In doing so, CBS offers insights into current developments in society and helps answer policy questions. Research at CBS is focused on broad trends in society and how these are interrelated.

CBS has offices in The Hague, Heerlen and Bonaire with altogether approximately 2,000 staff. A society-oriented working attitude is essential to CBS. CBS provides figures which are relevant to society. Every year, CBS publishes around 600 statistical studies. Virtually every day, CBS data and figures are communicated to the outside world via news releases, video messages and through social media. This results in some 50,000 articles per year in daily newspapers and on news sites.

For more information on CBS’s tasks, organisation and publications, go to cbs.nl/en-gb.


Should you have any questions or need more information, please contact us.


Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek


Ronald van der Bie

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

Michel van Kooten

Sidney Vergouw

Paul de Winden

Karolien van Wijk

Gert Jan Wijma


Frans Dinnissen

Gaby de Vet

Taalcentrum VU

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.