The increasing popularity of a shorter working week is a result of structural change in the employment market, not the financial crisis as staff strive to get a better work-life balance by working ‘mini-jobs’.
According to The Jobs Economist’s latest jobs audit, economic recovery will not stop people working shorter weeks at is a conscious decision and the amount of hours worked per week will still fall. However, the recovery will improve ‘underemployment’ – whereby people want to work more hours but can only find part time opportunities.
The working patterns identified were as follows:
15.7m people are in ‘midi-jobs’ working 31-45 hours a week
6m people are in ‘mini-jobs’ working 16-30 hours a week
5.9m are in ‘maxi-jobs’ working more than 45 hours a week
2.5m are in ‘micro-jobs’ working 15 hours or less a week
John Philpott, director of The Jobs Economist, says: "A sustained economic recovery is likely to see a much faster rate of full-time job creation and help reduce underemployment. But it would be wrong to assume that this will reverse the long-run trend toward shorter working hours in the UK, which reflects a combination of structural changes in the labour market and changing workplace practices.
Although the UK continues to be characterised as having an ingrained long hours work culture the reality has been an ongoing structural shift toward a shorter hours work culture which is likely to continue even in better economic times.
Insofar as the trend toward mini-jobs indicates that more people are able to strike a better work-life balance it may be viewed as a positive development, although those for whom a mini-job also means a mini weekly income might take a less rosy view of our emerging employment landscape.”
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