128,000 ‘underemployed’ workers want more hours

Almost a quarter of the workforce is made up of part-time employees, many of whom feel they are under-employed and would be willing to work more every week.

Some 23.4% of workers are employed part-time as opposed to a fifth as an EU-wide average. Almost three in 10 part-time employees would like to work more each week but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons.

More than 54% of the country’s part-time staff are women who, as workers willing to take on extra hours and available to do so, identify themselves as underemployed.

The figures released by the European Commission’s statistics agency Eurostat show 128,000 people aged 15 to 74 working here are underemployed. This translates into almost 7% of the overall labour market.

Other EU countries with high proportions of part-time workers include Austria (27.7%), Belgium (24%), Denmark (25.5%), Germany (27.5%), the Netherlands (50.5%), Sweden (26.1%), and the UK (26.5%). However, the percentage of workers defining themselves as underemployed varies sharply between these and other member states. The Netherlands (4%) registered by far the smallest share of underemployed part-time workers.

Corresponding figures for countries with high rates of part-time working were Denmark (10.7%), Germany (14.9%), Sweden (19.1%), and the UK (22.4%).

Given the countries’ economic difficulties, a large number of workers in Greece and Spain would like to work extra hours but do not have the opportunity.

A majority of part-time workers wished to work more hours while being available to do so in Greece (72.1%), Cyprus (65.9%), and Spain (57.3%).

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