Economic crash leaves an extra 1million workers under-employed and wanting more hoursSince 2008 crash the number of people in jobs but wanting to work more has risen by 47 per centFigure now stands at 3.05million with labourers, cleaners and caterers among worst affectedPart-time workers making employment figures look better than they are


14:30 GMT, 28 November 2012



15:35 GMT, 28 November 2012

More than 3million people are under-employed, forced to work part-time because they cannot find enough work.

The number has soared by 1million since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, with cleaners, caterers, school crossing assistants and labourers worst affected.

Critics said the army of part-time workers are disguising the impact of the recession, because unemployment figures have fallen but mostly thanks to people taking paid work for a few hours.

The Office for National Statistics revealed an extra 1million people have been classified as under-employed since 2008

The Office for National Statistics revealed an extra 1million people have been classified as under-employed since 2008

The Office for National Statistics said the number of underemployed workers was ‘fairly stable’ over the period before the start of the 2008 economic crash, standing at 2.07million.

Since then it has soared by 47 per cent and has been rising ever since.

In the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, the North East and the South West more than 10 per cent of workers wanted to work more hours.

The average under-employed worker earned 7.49 an hour, more than 3 less than someone who was not under-employed, said the ONS.

More than one in five of workers aged 16-24 were under-employed this year, compared with 10 per cent of those aged 35-49.

The Department for Work and Pensions insisted there were record numbers of people in work.

A spokesman added: ‘Part-time working suits millions of people and gives others the skills and experience to find a different job or take advantage of longer hours when they are available. For many people it is an important step to full-time work and coming off benefits.’

Cleaners were among the most under-employed

Labourers are also under-employed

Cleaners and labourers were among the most under-employed, the ONS said

But it was claimed a rise in part-time jobs was a sign that companies were reluctant to hire full-time staff because it would be more expensive if they had to make redundancies.

Andrew Sissons, researcher at the Work Foundation, said: ‘Not only are under-employed workers struggling to make ends meet, they are also increasing the competition for jobs, making it even harder to reduce unemployment.

“The burden of under-employment falls disproportionately on the youngest and lowest-paid members of the workforce, with young people aged 16 to 24 twice as likely to be under-employed than the average.’

Unions said the figures were proof of the weakness of the British economy.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Being under-employed carries a huge pay penalty that puts a real strain on people's finances. 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.’

Karen Jennings, assistant general secretary of Unison, added: ‘No wonder our economic growth has faltered – more than three million people are under-employed, many of them are stuck in part-time work but want full-time hours. Growing under-employment is masking broader economic problems and holding back the recovery.’