This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Find out more here


To discuss how you and your organisation can get more involved with The Work Foundation, please contact us.

Call 020 7976 3575 or email



Charles Levy
Senior Economist
Charles  Levy

On the edge - 1.25 million now have no choice but to work part time

Authors: Charles Levy Charles Levy

17 August 2011

A number of commentators have today flagged the jump in the number of people reporting that they have taken on part-time work only because they can’t find full time work. But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The graph below shows quite how tough things have been in the labour market over the past three years. Since the very start of the credit crunch the number of people in this group has been climbing at an alarming rate.

Last year we were encouraged by an improvement in this key statistic. The fact that it is on the rise again is a real worry. These individuals are clearly skilled enough to secure some form of employment; they are reporting some ambition and yet increasingly they can’t move up the ladder into full-time work. The series can be thought of as a true barometer of the labour market – these individuals are clearly job ready and any hint of a recovery should be visible here as these individuals would be first in line to pick up any new full-time vacancies. Instead, this group is just clinging on to the edge of the labour market, suggesting that we really are in for a very bumpy ride.