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New analysis reveals record numbers unable to find full-time work

New analysis reveals record numbers unable to find full-time work
 
New analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) reveals that the number of people working part-time because they cant find full-time work has reached over 1 million - the highest number on record and a 45 per cent increase since the recession began.
As full-time work has dropped by 4 per cent over the last two years there has also been a substantial increase in the number of temporary workers unable to find permanent jobs up 40 per cent since the recession began.
Though labour market flexibility has been praised for keeping unemployment low and many people prefer to work part-time if pay rates make it affordable, there are an estimated 2.8 million underemployed people (1) who are unable to earn enough money or find secure employment. ippr puts the cost of those in part-time work who are unable to secure full-time work at some 9bn in terms of lost earnings and benefits.
Other significant negative results of underemployment include there being fewer training opportunities provided by employers to part-time workers, and a potential negative impact on their future earnings.
Based on the experience of the last recession, rates of people involuntarily in part-time and temporary work could remain at the current high levels for as long as five years before starting to fall again.
ipprs other findings include:
 The number of men in temporary jobs who cant find permanent work has increased by over a half (53 per cent) since the beginning of the recession.
 The number of women in part-time work who cant find full-time work has risen by almost half (46 per cent) since the beginning of the recession.
 One in five (22 per cent) of involuntary part-time workers is aged between 16 and 24.
 The sectors in which part-time workers have most difficulty finding full-time work are sales and customer services, whereas temporary workers have most difficulty finding permanent work in administrative and secretarial roles.
ippr is arguing for both supply-side and demand-side policy measures to tackle the growing problem of underemployment. On the demand side, in addition to continued investment in apprenticeships, government should consider requiring employers to advertise and offer more jobs on a flexible basis. Offering flexible full-time work could help people with childcare or other responsibilities to take up the full-time work that is available, lifting them out of underemployment. The right to request flexible working should be extended to all employees and be made available from day one.
On the supply side, Jobcentre Plus and other private, public and voluntary sector providers should look to improve employment support for workers on short-term temporary or part-time contracts. For example, new Jobcentre Plus online employment support could be made available to these workers to help bridge the gap between benefits and employment and improve the likelihood of finding sustainable work at minimal cost.
 
Lisa Harker, Co-Director of ippr said:
There are going to be many priorities for the new government but tackling the shortage of jobs and the costs of underemployment must be high on the agenda of any recovery plan. While many people want to work part time for family or other reasons, ipprs analysis and research show that a growing number of people are trapped in insecure work or unable to work enough hours to earn a decent income.
 
Young people in particular are victims of this growing trend and there is danger that their long-term employment prospects will be badly affected. The large number of underemployed workers does not attract as much attention as those who have no work at all, but this hidden phenomenon is in many ways just as big a problem.
REC responds to IPPR analysis on flexible working trends
 
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the representative body for the UK recruitment industry, has responded to todays analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research about the worrying trend of more people working in part-time or temporary jobs.
Commenting on the IPPR findings, Tom Hadley, the RECs Director of External Relations, says: 
It is inevitable in a recession that more people end up working in a part-time or temporary capacity. Employers are naturally cautious in their hiring activity but we must recognise that flexible working options are one of the reasons that unemployment has not reached the levels seen in other European countries.
 
As the jobs market becomes more fluid, temporary workers will be able to use the experience and contacts gained as a way of progressing within the jobs market   and accessing permanent opportunities.
 
Hadley continued: On a general note, we must avoid assumptions that all of those working in a part-time or temporary capacity are only doing so because they cant find full-time work.  So-called temporary workers include IT contractors, interim managers, engineers and locum doctors - individuals who prefer this form of work  because they can earn better take-home pay and enjoy the flexibility and autonomy it provides. It is important to move away from the out-dated notion that traditional full-time work is the only viable form of employment.

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