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Underemployment Higher Among U.K. Women Than Men

A report from The Underemployment Project finds that female workers are more likely to be underemployed and underpaid than their male counterparts.

By Maggie Mancini

Women in the U.K. are among the most likely to be underemployed, according to a report from The Underemployment Project. Younger workers, people of colour, and workers with lower qualification levels are also more likely to be impacted by underemployment.  

This was particularly true when accounting for time-related underemployment, which the report explains as part-time workers who work part-time because they could not find a full-time job, workers who would like to work more hours in their current job, and workers seeking a replacement job with more hours.  

More female than male workers are employed part-time in the U.K., despite the proportion of part-time workers unable to find full-time work being shorter for women (10%) than men (20-40%). Women are also more likely than men to say that they want to work more hours, and less likely to want to work a full-time job if they’re already employed with a part-time job.  

The report also found that the underemployment rate among women was higher than men when accounting for wage-related underemployment. This is described as workers who are underpaid for the work they’re doing in comparison to other workers employed in the same occupation.  

Female employees are more likely to be underpaid (30%) than men (20%), according to the report. Almost a third of women (32%) were underpaid in April-June 2020, while the highest rate of wage-based underemployment for men (24%) occurred in 2010.   

The Underemployment Project is sociological investigation of underemployment and the lived experiences of underemployed workers funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

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