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Age and underemployment

by on November 30, 2012

Underemployment is increasingly mentioned in the current economic climate, the notion of people being employed for less time than they would wish to work each week but unable to find jobs with higher hours and employers unable to offer additional paid hours that would make up the difference.

This week the Office for National Statistics released a report (downloadable from this link) specifically on this phenomenon.  The underemployment rate has risen by 47% since the beginning of the downturn in 2008. 10% of  workers now want to work more hours (25% of part-time workers).

It seems that a number of factors contribute to underemployment (e.g. pay rates) and this interacts with age so that the underemployment rate is high for the lowest paid and youngest workers. Other relevant factors are low skill jobs, temporary or part-time contracts and geographical location. Underemployment is particularly acute in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and The Humber and the North East.

The rates for different age groups in 2012 reported are: 21.7% (workers aged 16 to 24); 9.7% (workers aged 25 to 34); 9.6% (workers aged 35 to 49) and 8.0% (workers aged 50 to 64);  and 4.2% (workers aged 65 and over).

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