The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee launched an enquiry into the issue of underemployment which CAS and Norma Philpott (Chief Executive of CARF) were invited to provide oral evidence to on the 23rd January. This written evidence followed the oral session, reinforcing the arguments made on the day.
Although bureaux do not specifically record ‘underemployment’ there are key indicators and case studies upon which CAS can draw to provide insight into the consequences of the situation of underemployment. These key indicators include the suitability of work in the current job market, in-work support and mechanisms for supporting jobseekers to find appropriate and sustainable work.
In the evidence, CAS recommended:
- Jobcentre Plus needs to do more to help people find suitable work. The matches made between jobseekers and jobs can often be unsuitable and not conducive to sustainable employment for the individual concerned. In addition, the new Universal Jobmatch website, which is run by the DWP and will soon become compulsory for jobseekers to use, has on occasion inaccurately listed some part time jobs as full time. CAS recommend that the inaccuracies in the website should be resolved before Universal Jobmatch becomes the compulsory search tool for many jobseekers. The site needs to be made more suitable for finding full time and appropriate work.
- There needs to be a single definition of underemployment used by policy makers and statisticians in order to accurately measure the problem
- Graduates should be considered as a group, rather than simply measuring employment outcomes by age. This would allow policy makers to better analyse whether graduates are displacing other people from non-graduate level jobs.