From the TUC

The scale of the underemployment crisis

04 Sep 2012, by in Labour market

While recent labour market data have shown small falls in the number of people out of work, there have also been significant increases in under-employment people who are in employment but want to work more hours.

Since the eve of the recession there has been an almost 100% increase (a rise of 696,000) in involuntary part-time work, which has risen from 724,000 in early 2008 to currently 1.42 million workers. But in addition to this group of part-time workers seeking full-time jobs there is also an increasing number of people who would like to work additional hours in their current job (although they may not want to work full-time, and may not be in part-time employment).

New analysis by the TUC shows that in total the number finding themselves under-employed has risen by around one million since the start of the recession, with 2.3 million people under-employed in early 2008 compared to 3.3 million today (a 42% increase). The under-employment rate has risen from 8 per cent to 11 per cent nationally this means that more than one in ten workers in employment are now in this position.

While any job may be better than no job at all, the TUC is concerned that underemployment is becoming an ever-more permanent feature of the labour market with more and more people not working and earning enough to get by on. These record levels of under-employment show that the jobs crisis is far worse than the headline labour market figures suggest. An assessment of the state of the UK’s jobs market requires far wider measures of labour market weakness to be taken into account than simply the headline unemployment rate.

This TUC analysis aims to show how under-employment is affecting people at work across the UK, looking at the level and rate of under-employment by gender, occupation, region and age.

Gender

There are currently around 1.57 million underemployed men compared to around 1.73 million under-employed women. Women are more likely to be under-employed, with around one in eight employed women finding themselves without enough hours.

Under-employment levels by gender and age, 2008 -2012

 Age Men, 2012 under-emp. level Women, 2012, under-emp. level Men, change in level since 2008 Women, change in level since 2008
16-24 328,914 331,661 79,579 (32%) 51,114 (18%)
25-34 411,478 325,326 141,901 (53%) 101,984 (46%)
35-49 485,041 674,021 140,695 (41%) 181,027 (37%)
50-64 313,358 380,773 102,493 (49%) 158,925 (72%)
65+ 34,853 14,340 23,014 (194%) 2,446 (21%)
TOTAL 1,573,644 1,726,121 487,682 (45%) 495,496 (40%)

Age

Young people are almost twice as likely to be under-employed as any other age group with around one in five young people in this position. This, combined with high rates of joblessness, illustrates just how desperate the UK’s youth jobs crisis is.

Under-employment rates by age, 2008-2012

 Age Under-emp. 2008 Under-emp. 2012 Change in rate (% points)
16-24 12.75% 18.63% 5.88
25-34 7.83% 11.18% 3.35
35-49 7.57% 10.86% 3.29
50-64 6.00% 9.33% 3.33
65+ 3.45% 5.49% 2.04
TOTAL 7.88% 11.32% 3.45

Occupation

Under-employment is most common in low-skilled jobs, where around one in five workers are not doing enough hours. People working in sales and customer services and in personal services are also increasingly likely to be under-employed. These occupations also have the highest rates of unemployment.

There has also been a recent surge in under-employment in professional occupations such as teaching, nursing, legal and skilled business jobs. The number of under-employed women in these jobs has more than doubled since 2008, increasing by 127 per cent.

Under-employment rates by occupation, 2008-2012

Occupation

Under-emp. rate 2008

Under-emp. rate 2012

Change in under-emp. rate (% points)

Managers and Senior Officials

3.34

4.37

1.04

Professional Occupations

5.01

6.56

1.55

Associate Professional and Technical

6.72

8.29

1.57

Administrative and Secretarial

6.25

9.60

3.35

Skilled Trades Occupations

7.12

10.77

3.65

Personal Service Occupations

12.71

17.62

4.90

Sales & Customer Service Occupations

12.95

19.27

6.32

Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

7.72

11.72

4.00

Elementary Occupations

14.42

21.34

6.92

TOTAL

7.89

11.35

3.46

Region

The sharpest rises in under-employment have taken place in Northern Ireland, the East Midlands and the North West although levels have increased by at least a third in every region of the UK.

Under-employment rates and levels by UK region and nation, 2008-2012

 Region 2008 under-emp.  level 2008 under-emp.  rate 2012 under-emp. level 2012 under-emp. rate Change in under-emp. level Change in under-emp. Rate (% points)
North East 91,188 7.90% 132,105 11.62% 40,917 (45%) 3.71
North West 249,019 7.90% 370,808 12.08% 121,789 (49%) 4.18
Yorkshire &  Humber 197,251 8.02% 265,810 11.00% 68,559 (35%) 2.98
East Midlands 177,229 8.21% 266,030 12.50% 88,801 (50%) 4.29
West Midlands 185,259 7.41% 246,644 10.12% 61,385 (33%) 2.70
Eastern 206,904 7.34% 304,953 10.64% 98,049 (47%) 3.29
London 299,708 8.01% 441,085 11.55% 141,377 (47%) 3.54
South East 335,860 7.98% 468,245 11.19% 132,385 (39%) 3.22
South West 218,672 8.55% 293,636 11.81% 74,964 (34%) 3.26
Wales 124,720 9.31% 172,696 12.97% 47,976 (38%) 3.66
Scotland 194,445 7.67% 270,510 10.95% 76,065 (39%) 3.28
Northern Ireland 36,332 4.61% 67,243 8.39% 30,911 (85%) 3.78
TOTAL 2,316,587 7.88% 3,299,765 11.32% 983,178 (42%) 3.45

The UK jobs market has seen dramatic rises in under-employment in recent years with more than one in ten workers across the UK being under-employed, with young people, women and those in lower-paid work the most likely to be affected.

The analysis shows that under-employment is an even greater problem than has previously been realised, because it is not just those in part-time jobs who want to work full-time who are under-employed. Many more workers across the economy want more hours in their existing positions.

For further data and analysis down load the full report.

Analysis for data is taken from the Labour Force Survey comparing the Jan-March 2008 quarters to those in Jan-March 2012, (the most recent LFS data currently available in this format).

 

One Response to The scale of the underemployment crisis

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    Nov 2nd 2012, 11:24 am

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