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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02 March 2012
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Underemployed part-time workers want 14 hours more work

In September 2011, there were 11.6 million people employed in Australia. Of these people, 786,800 wanted to work more hours and were available, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The average number of extra hours preferred per week was 14.1 hours.

Part-time workers made up the majority of these underemployed workers, 62% were women, but the proportion of underemployment was higher for men (28%) than women (19%).

The most common step taken when looking for more hours was 'asked current employer for more work' (62%), followed by 'contacted prospective employers' (58%). 'No vacancies in line of work' was reported by 21% of underemployed part-time workers as their main difficulty in finding work with more hours.

Over one-quarter (28%) of underemployed part-time workers would move to another part of the state if offered a suitable job, while 21% would move to a different state.

Over half (56%) of all underemployed part-time workers preferred to work full-time hours (at least 35 hours per week).

The median length of underemployment for Australians remained steady over the last year at 30 weeks, though there was variation across age groups.

An article Underemployment Patterns and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has been prepared looking at underemployment patterns from 2006 to 2011, showing that underemployment peaked during the GFC.