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6265.0 - Underemployed Workers, Australia, Sep 2010 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/03/2011   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

There were 11.4 million employed people aged 15 years and over in September 2010. Of these:

  • 10.6 million were fully employed; and
  • 890,500 were not fully employed, of whom 807,300 were underemployed.

Of the 807,300 underemployed workers:
  • 733,900 usually worked part-time, but would prefer more hours and were available to start work with more hours either in the reference week, or in the four weeks following the interview; and
  • 73,400 usually worked full-time, but worked part-time hours in the reference week due to economic reasons (for example, no work or not enough work available, been stood down, or on short time).


PART-TIME WORKERS WHO WOULD PREFER MORE HOURS

In September 2010, there were 3.3 million part-time workers (2.3 million women and 983,200 men). Of all part-time workers, 817,100 (25%) would prefer to work more hours, compared to 823,800 (26%) in September 2009.

Of the 817,100 part-time workers who would prefer more hours:
  • 33% were aged 15-24 years;
  • 55% would prefer to work full-time;
  • 733,900 were available for work with more hours (445,900 women and 288,000 men), of whom 50% were looking for work with more hours; and
  • 83,200 were not available for work with more hours, of whom 10% were looking for work with more hours.


UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS

In September 2010, there were 733,900 underemployed part-time workers. These people comprise 91% of all underemployed workers.

Of the underemployed part-time workers:
  • 61% were women;
  • 18% were aged 35-44 years and a further 17% were aged 25-34 years; and
  • 59% reported they would not prefer to change employer to work more hours, 25% would prefer to change employer, while the remaining 16% had no preference.
UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS AS A PROPORTION OF PART-TIME WORKERS, Age-By sex
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS AS A PROPORTION OF PART-TIME WORKERS, Age - By sex


Part-time workers aged 20-24 had the highest incidence of underemployment (29%) followed by those aged 15-19 (26%). The proportion of part-time workers who were underemployed generally decreased with age.

While there were more women who were underemployed part-time workers than men (445,900 compared with 288,000), the incidence of underemployment for part-time workers was higher for men (29%) than women (19%). This was the case in all age groups, with the largest percentage point difference being for those aged 25-34 years (37% for men and 20% for women) and 35-44 years (34% for men and 18% for women).

Underemployed part-time men were more likely to report that they would move intrastate if offered a suitable job (31%) than women (22%), whereas over one fifth (22%) of underemployed part-time men and 16% of women reported that they would move interstate if offered a suitable job.

There was a higher proportion of people who reported uncertainty about moving intrastate than interstate if offered a suitable job in September 2010 (12% of underemployed part-time workers might move or did not know if they would move intrastate, compared with 10% for interstate).


Duration of current period of insufficient work
UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Duration of current period of insufficient work-By age
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Duration of current period of insufficient work - By age


Older people generally had a longer duration of underemployment than younger people. For example, one quarter of 15-19 year old underemployed part-time workers had experienced insufficient work for one year or more. In contrast, around half of those aged 55 years and over (52%) and those aged 45-54 years (49%), had insufficient work for one year or more.

The median duration of the current period of insufficient work for underemployed part-time workers was 30 weeks. For those aged 45-54 years and 55 years and over, the median duration was 50 weeks and 52 weeks respectively.

UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred number of total hours-By age
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred number of total hours - By age


Over half (55%) of underemployed part-time workers would prefer to work a total of 35 hours or more per week. For those aged 25-34 years, 71% preferred to work a total of 35 hours or more per week, while for those aged 15-19 years, over half (52%) preferred to work a total of less than 30 hours per week.


Preferred number of extra hours
UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred number of extra hours-By usual number of hours worked
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred number of extra hours - By usual number of hours worked


For underemployed part-time workers, the preferred number of extra hours varied with the number of hours they usually worked. For example, two thirds (or 66%) of those who usually worked 1-5 hours a week preferred 10 or more extra hours per week, and of those who worked 30-34 hours a week, two thirds (or 66%) preferred to work less than 10 extra hours per week.

UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Mean preferred number of extra hours-By age
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Mean preferrednumber of extra hours - By age


The mean preferred number of extra hours per week for underemployed part-time workers was 14.0 hours. The mean preferred number of extra hours was lowest for people aged 15-19 years (12.6 hours), and highest for those aged 25-34 years (15.7 hours). On average, men preferred to work an extra 15.8 hours per week, compared with women who preferred to work an extra 12.9 hours per week.


Looking for work with more hours

Of the 733,900 underemployed part-time workers, around half (366,300) had looked for work with more hours at some time during the four weeks prior to the survey. Of the 445,900 underemployed part-time women, almost half (47%) were looking for work with more hours. By comparison, of the 288,000 underemployed part-time men, 54% were looking for work with more hours.

The most common step taken to find work with more hours, by underemployed part-time workers who had looked for work, was 'asked current employer for more work' (62%), followed by 'contacted prospective employers' (53%) and 'searched Internet sites' (51%).

The main difficulty in finding work with more hours, most commonly reported by underemployed part-time workers who had looked for work, was 'no vacancies in line of work' (20%), followed by 'unsuitable hours' (10%). The largest percentage point difference between men and women was for 'unsuitable hours' (8% of men and 12% of women).

Approximately 8% of underemployed part-time workers who had looked for work with more hours reported that they had 'no difficulties' in finding work with more hours.


UNDEREMPLOYED FULL-TIME WORKERS

There were 8.1 million full-time workers in September 2010, accounting for 71% of all employed people. Of those who usually worked full-time, 1.2 million people (15%) worked less than 35 hours in the reference week, with 73,400 (6%) of these people working less hours due to economic reasons.


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