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6265.0 - Underemployed Workers, Australia, September 2013 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2014   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

The Underemployed Workers Survey found that of the 11.7 million employed people aged 15 years and over in September 2013:

  • 10.7 million (92%) were fully employed; and
  • 970,100 (8%) were not fully employed, of whom 875,200 were underemployed.

Of the 875,200 underemployed workers (see Tables 1 and 2):
  • 817,200 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
  • 58,000 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 2013, there were 3.5 million part-time workers, of which 70% (2.4 million) were women.

Just over a quarter (26%) of all part-time workers stated they would prefer to work more hours. This was a significant increase to the 24% of part-time workers who said they would prefer to work more hours in September 2011 and 2012.

Underemployed part-time workers as a proportion of part-time workers, By sex-September 2013
Graph: Underemployed part-time workers as a proportion of part-time workers, By sex–September 2013


Of the 912,200 part-time workers who would prefer more hours (see Tables 1, 2 and 3):
  • 38% were men and 62% were women;
  • just over half (55%) would prefer to work full-time;
  • 90% (817,200) were available for work with more hours, and more than half of these (53%) were looking for more work hours; and
  • 94,900 (10%) were not available for work with more hours, of whom 9% were looking for work with more hours.


UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS

Underemployed part-time workers are people who usually work less than 35 hours a week, would prefer to work more hours and are available to start work with more hours within four weeks. In September 2013, there were 817,200 underemployed part-time workers, a significant increase of 86,300 from 2012.

Of the underemployed part-time workers (see Tables 1 and 3):
  • 60% were women; and
  • 57% reported they would prefer not to change their employer to work more hours, 27% would prefer to change employer, while the remaining 15% had no preference.
UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS AS A PROPORTION OF PART-TIME WORKERS, By Age-By sex-September 2013
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS AS A PROPORTION OF PART-TIME WORKERS, By Age–By sex–September 2013

Underemployed part-time workers and part-time workers, By age, By sex, By age-By sex-September 2013

UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS
PART-TIME WORKERS
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

Age group (years)
15-19
53.2
64.9
118.1
201.3
279.5
480.8
20-24
67.7
84.4
152.1
193.4
256.6
450.1
25-34
62.1
89.0
151.1
164.2
400.5
564.6
35-44
43.5
108.2
151.6
103.8
553.9
657.7
45-54
46.0
95.6
141.5
116.8
488.4
605.2
55 and over
51.0
51.8
102.8
265.8
448.3
714.1
Total
323.4
493.8
817.2
1 045.3
2 427.2
3 472.5



There were a higher number of women employed part-time than men. There were also a higher number of women employed part-time who were underemployed (493,800 compared with 323,400 men). However, the proportion of underemployment for part-time workers was higher for men (31%) than women (20%), with the greatest difference for those aged 35-44 years (42% for men and 20% for women) (see above).

Underemployed part-time men were more likely to report that they would move to another part of their state if they were offered a suitable job (30%) than women (20%)(see Table 5). Just under one quarter (24%) of underemployed part-time men and 14% of women reported that they would move interstate if offered a suitable job.


Duration of current period of insufficient work

The median duration of the current period of insufficient work for underemployed part-time workers was 30 weeks, up significantly from 26 weeks in 2012, and back to levels observed in 2010 and 2011. The mean duration of current period of insufficient work in September 2013 was 76.3 weeks compared to 69.0 weeks in 2012 (see Table 4). The median is the midpoint of the number of weeks of underemployment while the higher mean was influenced by people who had long spells of underemployment.

Underemployed part-time workers, Median duration of current period of insufficient work-By age-September 2013
Graph: Underemployed part-time workers, Median duration of current period of insufficient work–By age–September 2013


UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Duration of current period of insufficient work-By age-September 2013
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Duration of current period of insufficient work–By age–September 2013


Older people generally had a longer duration of underemployment than younger people (see Table 4). For example, 30% 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 (51%) and those aged 45-54 years (46%), had insufficient work for one year or more.


Preferred total number of hours

Over half (56%) of underemployed part-time workers would prefer to work full-time (35 hours or more per week) (see Table 4). A higher proportion of male underemployed part-time workers wanted to work 35 hours or more per week (71%) than women (46%). Those in the 20-24 and 25-34 age groups were more likely to want to work full-time (e.g. 71% of those aged 25-34 years), while those aged 15-19 years were most (49%) likely to prefer to work a total of less than 30 hours per week (see below).

UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred total number of hours-By age-September 2013
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred total number of hours–By age–September 2013



Preferred number of extra hours

For underemployed part-time workers, the preferred number of extra hours varied with the number of hours they usually worked (see Table 5). For example, 68% of those who usually worked 1-5 hours a week preferred to work 10 or more extra hours per week, and of those who worked 30-34 hours a week, 57% preferred to work less than 10 extra hours per week.

UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred number of extra hours-By usual number of hours worked-September 2013
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Preferred number of extra hours–By usual number of hours worked–September 2013


The mean preferred number of extra hours per week for underemployed part-time workers was 14 hours (see Table 5). The mean preferred number of extra hours was lowest for people aged 15-19 years (13.5 hours), and highest for those aged 25-34 years (15.3 hours). On average, men preferred to work an extra 15.6 hours per week, compared with women who preferred to work an extra 13.3 hours per week. Men preferred more hours than women in all age groups.

UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Mean preferred number of extra hours-By age-September 2013
Graph: UNDEREMPLOYED PART-TIME WORKERS, Mean preferred number of extra hours–By age–September 2013



Looking for work with more hours

Of the 817,200 underemployed part-time workers, just over half (432,700) had looked for work with more hours at some time during the four weeks prior to the survey (see Table 6). For male underemployed part-time workers, 58% had been looking for work with more hours, compared with 50% for women.

The most common steps taken to look for work with more hours, in the last four weeks, by underemployed part-time workers, were 'asked current employer for more work' (63%), 'searched Internet sites' (61%) and 'contacted prospective employers' (57%) (see Table 7).

Underemployed workers who had looked for work most commonly reported that their main difficulty in finding work with more hours was that there was 'no vacancies in line of work' (22%) (see Table 6). It was the most commonly reported reason for both men (26%) and women (19%). The next most commonly reported specific reason was 'too many applicants for available jobs'. This was the case for both men (12%) and women (13%).


UNDEREMPLOYED FULL-TIME WORKERS

There were 8.2 million full-time workers in September 2013, 70% of all employed people (see Table 1). Of those who usually worked full-time, 1.2 million people (15%) had worked less than 35 hours in the reference week in September 2013, with 58,000 (5%) of these people working fewer than 35 hours for economic reasons. Of these 58,000 people, 79% were men.


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