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Over one in ten UK workers ‘underemployed’ – TUC

The number of people who wish to work more hours has risen by a million since 2008, a new report by the union TUC states.

The report also highlights young and low-skilled workers as the hardest hit as underemployment rises. The number of people in work who wish to work more hours rose by 42% to 3.3 million and the underemployment rate has risen from 8% to 11%.

The total number of underemployed is made up of 1.4 million part-time workers seeking a full-time job and 1.9 million full time workers who want more hours. Almost one in five 16-24 year olds are seeking more work, and the largest group in the underemployed total consists of those in low skilled jobs, such as security guards.

Data from the ONS was used to inform the report, the TUC said.

Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, said: “A million people have lost their jobs since the eve of the recession in 2008, but this tragic figure only tells half the story.

“A further million people are now trapped in jobs that don't have enough hours to provide the income they need to get by.

“Young people, women and low skilled workers are bearing the brunt of our underemployment crisis. It is alarming just how few young people today are able to find a job working enough hours. This is a criminal waste of the talent and skills they have – all because of a crisis they didn’t cause.”

The minister for employment, Chris Grayling, responded: “Being in some form of employment is better than being out of work. It is important that people are taking those first steps into employment through part-time work or jobs in different sectors as it provides vital experience and skills that employers will look for when the economy improves.

“Over the past few months the rise in full-time work has outstripped that of part time and unemployment has continued to fall.”

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