Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Study reveals part-time work 'trap'

More men are becoming 'trapped' in part-time jobs, the TUC claims

The number of men doing part-time work because they cannot find a full-time job has more than doubled in the last four years, according to a new study.

The TUC said almost 600,000 men were working part-time in December while looking for full-time positions, compared to 293,000 at the end of 2007.

Latest official figures have shown that 1.4 million workers and self-employed people work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

People living in the east of England have been hit by the biggest increase in under-employment over the past four years, with the number of men "trapped" in part-time jobs more than trebling to almost 60,000, said the TUC. Its analysis of official figures showed that the North East, Northern Ireland and London also experienced sharp rises in involuntary part-time work.

The report, published ahead of the latest unemployment figures on Tuesday, also revealed that the number of women working in involuntary part-time jobs has more than doubled in London and Northern Ireland over the past four years.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Last month's fall in unemployment was a welcome surprise. No-one should be under any illusion however that the jobs crisis is over. Virtually all employment growth is coming from part-time and temporary jobs but most of the people taking them want and need permanent, full-time work.

"Any job may be better than no job at all but people are having to make huge salary sacrifices to stay working. This is bad news for family finances and it is holding back our economy. Any hope of an economic recovery that benefits everyone rests on the growth of well-paid, skilled, full-time jobs. It is the only way for people to increase their incomes and get back to working to the best of their ability.

"Proper jobs growth, rather than self-defeating austerity and making work even more insecure by attacking basic employment rights, must be the Government's top priority."

Areas of the UK with the most people doing part-time work because they cannot find full-time jobs include London (198,000), the North West (152,000), the South East (141,000) and the West Midlands (132,000), said the TUC.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "We firmly believe that being in some form of employment is better than being out of work. Part-time work or jobs in different sectors can be the first steps into employment, providing vital experience and skills that employers will look for when the economy and labour market improve. We know that finding a job can be tough but in recent months things have stabilised. Meanwhile, Jobcentre Plus is still taking on 10,000 vacancies every day."

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