19/01/2015 - Big rise in underemployment

UnderemployedFamilies all over our country are being thrown into poverty according to a report just released. A key cause is underemployment. Underemployment means that people can't get the number of hours work they want so their income drops. Instead of full-time work with a reasonable wage many are forced to scrape by on part-time work and lower wages.

The report shows that there has been a leap of one million in underemployment rates.

The rapid rise means that 3.2 million people are now underemployed — characterised by a highly skilled workforce working part-time and for low pay, with the million-strong increase having taken place since the recession in 2007.

And the TUC analysis warns that underemployment will not return to pre-recession levels until 2023.

“Millions cannot get the full hours of work they want and all too often it means families end up stuck with poor living standards,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.

“Underemployment is still much higher than it was before the recession, so we have a long way to go to create enough of the full-time jobs that people want and need.

“We already had too much underemployment before the recession, so we need to reduce it much faster.”

Looking at all types of underemployment the analysis lays bear the true scale of the problem, including how many workers want more hours in their existing jobs and the number working part-time who want to work full-time.

“The government must address labour market failures that have left us with too many poor-quality jobs, and not enough decent jobs with full-time hours,” added Ms O’Grady.

“We need to make sure that people who want more work have the opportunity to do it.”

Pat Harrington of Solidarity Union commented:

"The government boasts of falling unemployment but the fact is that many jobs which used to be or would have been full-time are now part-time. High underemployment is one of the keys to understanding why many live in poverty when unemployment is apparently falling."

Editorial note: You can join Solidarity Union here: