Under Employment at an All Time High!
The current economic crisis has hit people in many different ways, and the most obvious of these is when redundancies have been made. What was less thought about until recently, though, were those people who are working less hours than they would like to. This has coined the term Under Employment, and a study released by the Office for National Statistics in November 2012 makes for interesting reading.
Since this current economic recession started, working patterns have had to change to suit the circumstances. For some people, this has meant taking on a part time job where there were no full time jobs available, and for others, it might mean a reduced working week due to a factory or other place of business not being as busy as it once was. As a result of this, people are working less hours than they might wish to, and these fall into the category of the underemployed.
The Office for National Statistics survey showed that almost one million people now class themselves as underemployed, and one in four people in part time jobs would like to work more hours but currently cannot. This represents quite a significant proportion of the work force, and also goes some way to explain why the unemployment rates are at a reasonably low level, despite the recession. Approximately 2.5 million people in the UK are out of work, but this would be a lot higher if people had not chosen to take part time jobs or reduced hours in order to make ends meet.
There are several ways to look at these figures. On the one side, it shows that people are making all the efforts they can to find work, even by taking jobs that they might not really want. On the flip side though, some people argue that these figures go to show just how far away from an economic recovery we really are, where full time jobs in some geographical areas are still hard to come by.
Whilst taking a part time job may be a pragmatic response to the recession, where having any job is better than not having one at all, it may at some point begin to have detrimental effects on career plans. This is especially the case for those people who have trained in specific fields, but have taken jobs elsewhere for the time being. Even a few months spent away from some professions can prove to be a problem for some people seeking employment. Employers are more likely to take on someone who is currently in the field than taking on someone who may require a degree of retraining in order to bring them up to speed again.
For the moment though, it would seem that under employment is here to stay, especially with changes to the working tax credit system also complicating matters. With a million people keen to work more hours than they currently do, or take on full time jobs, one can only hope that the recovery and real job creation begins soon.