Underemployment has become a topic of significant interest among policy makers and researchers in recent years. Despite its widespread prevalence and significant economic and social consequences, measuring underemployment has proven to be a challenging task due to its multidimensional nature and the interdisciplinary nature of research on this topic.

In this first project report we address key questions around how we can measure underemployment and track it over time. The report examines trends in the levels of various forms of underemployment since 2006, analysing gender, ethnic, occupational, qualification, regional and industry disparities in these trends. We approach underemployment as a complex and multidimensional phenomenon including insufficient hours of employment, limited use of skills at work and/or low wages.

Our findings show which groups face higher levels of underemployment and who is better protected from it. Overall, women, younger workers, workers with lower qualification levels and those from ethnic minorities are most affected by underemployment in all three dimensions. Yet our report also shows that the different measures of underemployment can provide quite different pictures. Although they mostly agree on who is most affected by underemployment, they do show some different trends and levels. The varying indicators match less on regional trends, for example, and on which occupational groups are more affected by underemployment.

These first findings raise fascinating questions about the most appropriate indicators to use to capture underemployment as a whole. Our second report will focus on exploring these indicators in combination.

Read the full report here: https://trends.underemployment.info/