> ….or, at least, they may not want to but they need to in ordef to survive.
The North East has seen the sharpest rise in the country of underemployed people since the recession.
Thousands in the region are trapped in low paid or part-time jobs where they struggle to get by, unions say.
And figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that 11.5% of those asked in 2013 wanted to work extra hours to gain more money compared to just 7.8% in 2008 – the biggest rise in the UK.
On average, each underemployed worker would like to work an extra 11.3 hours per week.
Business chiefs have today expressed concern at the figures, saying underemployed people can be almost as vulnerable as the unemployed when it comes to getting into financial difficulty.
> Really ? Who’d have guessed ?
Neil Foster, policy and campaigns officer for the Northern TUC, said:
“Six years after the global financial crisis, the lack of hours remains a major issue for one in nine workers in the North East.
“Average pay has not kept up with the cost of living in recent years and so increasingly people are looking to make it up through extra shifts and overtime, which as these figures show is not always available for everyone in our region.
“A prolonged shortage of work can cause hardship, reliance of high cost credit and greater financial difficulties as a result.”
Interestingly, the North East also had the second highest proportion of overemployed people – people who want to work fewer hours for less money.
As many as 9.5% of workers from the region said they were overemployed. However this is down from 2008 when the figure was 10%.
On average, in 2014, each overemployed worker would like to work 11.2 fewer hours than they currently do.
> Who were they ? Newcastle United and Sunderland footballers perhaps ?
Mr Foster added:
“Elsewhere some people want a different work-life balance with more time for things outside of work.
“The average worker in the North East puts in almost seven hours a week of unpaid overtime every week and reducing that would be a start.
> Unpaid overtime ? If you work overtime you should be paid for it or refuse to do it. Unfortunately too many people will meekly knuckle down. Now do you see why allowing the trade unions to be neutured was such a bad thing ?
“It could be that traditionally full-time professions are not pro-actively offering as much flexibility or that workers feel over-stretched.
“Such is the current level of job insecurity that many employees are worried about even raising the issue with their manager.
“Employers should look to create a climate where workers can talk honestly and confidently about what they want from their job.
“People’s lives are increasingly complex and it may well be more flexible working provides welcome opportunities for others and a happier and higher performing workforce overall.”
North East Chamber of Commerce director of policy, Ross Smith, said problems in the labour market remain despite improvements in headline employment figures.
“Both the North East unemployment and employment rates have improved faster or as fast as any other region and we have record numbers in work which is great news,” he said.
> We still have the highest unemployment, so that;s not saying much.
“However, these figures emphasise that we still have problems in our labour market.
“The high numbers reporting both over- and under-employment hints at the mismatch between many of the jobs on offer in the North East and the skills of people looking for work.
> So unemployed person, if you haven’t got the message yet – it’s your fault. You should have the right skills. It’s obviously not up to the company to actually teach you the job, god forbid !
“We badly need to address this to help businesses take advantage of the growth opportunities on offer, and for more local people to benefit fully from the economic recovery.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 01 Jan 2015