The missing full time employee jobs
Hardly a week goes by when we do not hear Ministers boasting about record employment levels. Yes, employment levels may be rising to record levels; however, this is a result of the rising numbers in the working population. The employment rate at 73% has only recently returned to its pre- recession level, and the share of employment taken by full time employee jobs (many people’s first choice) remains at below pre- recession levels.
TUC analysis carried out before the latest figures were published – showed that the share of UK jobs accounted for by full-time employees fell from 64.4 per cent in Jan-March 2008 to 62.2 per cent in June-August 2014. This is equivalent to a shortfall of 669,000 full-time employees.
The most recent employment figures (July to September 2014) also show an increase in full – time employee jobs (as they did in the previous quarter), however, it is still true that the share of full-time employee jobs in the labour market is lower than it was in 2008. There is still a shortfall of around 634,000 jobs.
The chancellor last week said that 85% of the increase in employment over the last year has been in full-time work, however for full time employee posts it has been around 60%. Of the increase in full time work the Chancellor refers to, over a third has been in self employment; overall self employment is 40% of the increase in employment over the year. It is well documented that self employment is a form of work where many people are on low pay. The OBR further confirmed last week that the growth in self-employment has been concentrated at the lower end of the income distribution.
The following charts use the most recent data and illustrate the change in the composition of the workforce from 2008-2014, and where the net increase in employment has come from.
The growth in employment has been in part-time jobs and self- employment. While part-time and self-employment can both be important options for many people, the number of part-time employees who say they want full-time hours is around twice the level it was before the recession at 1.34 million, and the rise in self-employment is at least in part a result of people who are unable to find employee jobs or are being forced into false self-employment.
The employment composition analysis has also been done by the English regions and Wales, where we find full time employee levels have failed to reach pre- recession levels in the North West, North East, South West and Wales.
While full time employee job levels have risen in the South East, London, Yorkshire and Humber, Eastern region, West midlands and the East midlands, in all the regions/nations covered in this analysis, the share of full time employee jobs has fallen. Even in London (where employment growth stands out) full time employee jobs only make up 35% of the net increase, with part time jobs and self-employment making up the rest; there is a shortfall of 207,650 full time employee jobs in London.
Data from ONS