6265.0 - Underemployed Workers, Australia, Sep 2011 Quality Declaration
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/03/2012
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Of the 786,800 underemployed workers:
PART-TIME WORKERS WHO WOULD PREFER MORE HOURS
In September 2011, there were 3.4 million part-time workers (2.4 million women and just over 1 million men). Of all part-time workers, 814,700 (24%) would prefer to work more hours. This is similar to the number of part-time workers (817,100 or 25%) who said they would prefer to work more hours in September 2010.
Of the 814,700 part-time workers who would prefer 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. In September 2011, there were 722,600 underemployed part-time workers. These people comprise 92% of all underemployed workers.
Of the underemployed part-time workers:
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 (446,000 compared with 276,600), the proportion of underemployment for part-time workers was higher for men (28%) than women (19%). This was the case in most age groups, with the largest percentage point difference being for those aged 35-44 years (40% for men and 18% for women) and for those aged 25-34 years (39% for men and 19% for women).
Underemployed part-time men were more likely to report that they would move intrastate if offered a suitable job (35%) than women (24%). Over one quarter (26%) of underemployed part-time men and 17% of women reported that they would move interstate if offered a suitable job.
Duration of current period of insufficient work
Older people generally had a longer duration of underemployment than younger people. For example, just over 28% 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 (53%) and those aged 45-54 years (45%), 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, unchanged from 2010. For those aged 35-44 it was 35 weeks, up from 26 weeks in 2010. For people aged 45-54 years the median duration was 39 weeks, down from 50 weeks in 2010. For underemployed part-time workers aged 55 years and over, the median duration of the current period of insufficient work was 52 weeks, the same as in 2010.
Preferred number of extra hours
Over half (56%) of underemployed part-time workers would prefer to work a total of 35 hours or more per week. For those aged 25-34 years, 68% preferred to work a total of 35 hours or more per week, while for those aged 15-19 years, just under half (48%) preferred to work a total of less than 30 hours per week.
For underemployed part-time workers, the preferred number of extra hours varied with the number of hours they usually worked. For example, almost two thirds (or 63%) 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.
The mean preferred number of extra hours per week for underemployed part-time workers was 14.1 hours. The mean preferred number of extra hours was lowest for people aged 55 years and over (13.0 hours), and highest for those aged 25-34 years (15.2 hours). On average, men preferred to work an extra 15.2 hours per week, compared with women who preferred to work an extra 13.3 hours per week.
Looking for work with more hours
Of the 722,600 underemployed part-time workers, around half (363,000) had looked for work with more hours at some time during the four weeks prior to the survey. The proportion of part-time workers who were looking for work with more hours was similar for men (52%) and women (49%).
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' (58%) and 'searched internet sites' (56%).
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' (21%). This was the case for both men (25%) and women (19%). The next most common reason for men was 'no vacancies at all' (13%), whereas for women it was 'unsuitable hours' (11%). The largest percentage point difference between men and women was for 'unsuitable hours' (6% of men and 11% of women).
UNDEREMPLOYED FULL-TIME WORKERS
There were 8.1 million full-time workers in September 2011, 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 64,300 (5%) of these people working less hours for economic reasons. Of these 64,300, almost three quarters (72%) were men.
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