Underemployment affecting one-in-ten UK workers

One in every ten UK employees want to work more hours than they are currently being offered.

Research by the Office for National Statistics has dis…

One in every ten UK employees want to work more hours than they are currently being offered.

Research by the Office for National Statistics has discovered the problem of underemployment is one that is growing. Between 2008 and 2012, there was an increase of one million in the number of workers who required additional shifts.

Around one-quarter of part-time staff members complained they could not get enough hours, while the top three areas for underemployment were the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and the north-east.

Among the positions where underemployment is the biggest issue are school crossing assistants and bar staff.

Andrew Sissons, a researcher for the Work Foundation, noted it is very concerning to see how the problem of underemployment is increasing, adding: "Not only are underemployed workers struggling to make ends meet, they are also increasing the competition for jobs, making it even harder to reduce unemployment."

He stated the youngest and lowest-paid members of the workforce are the ones having to bear the brunt of the problem, with those aged between 16 and 24 twice as likely to be underemployed than the average.

This could mean that people will struggle to stay debt free, as they are not taking home enough pay to meet their current financial outlay. If people find themselves in the situation whereby their outgoings and greater than their income, then action needs to be taken to avoid long-lasting problems.

A debt management plan may be useful, as it allows consumers to pay off any debts they have at a more affordable rate by making reduced monthly payments, while people will still be left with a budget to meet their household bills.

Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber is deeply worried by the situation, as being underemployed leaves people facing "a huge pay penalty" that leaves personal finances strained.

"Long periods of under-employment can cause longer-term career damage, which is particularly worrying for the one in five young people currently trapped in it," he added.

By James Francis 

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