Today the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee published their inquiry into underemployment, using lots of evidence presented to them by CAS Social Policy Officer Lauren Wood and Norma Philpott, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice and Rights Fife. The term underemployment refers to people working fewer hours than they want to, or taking on jobs which do not use all their skills, and the inquiry shows that young people and women are more adversely affected.
The evidence CAS supplied to the Committee would not have been possible without the valuable contributions of social policy feedback from advisers. Thank you!
On 23rd January, Lauren and Norma met with the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee to share CAB clients' stories of living on a low wage, with few hours and limited job security. The entire meeting can be viewed online here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/21125125.
The inquiry published today indicates that unemployment figures only show one side of the story, as there are many people who struggle by on a low income, as opposed to having no income altogether. Welfare reforms have also added to the problem, with changes to Working Tax Credits meaning the eligibility criteria are harder to meet. Underemployment has been shown to affect young people particularly badly, especially those working in the retail, social care and tourism sectors.
Underemployment does not only mean financial insecurity, it also has a negative impact on future employment prospects, meaning that many skilled young people and graduates are not able to fully utilise their knowledge and abilities.