Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Work-time underemployment and financial hardship: class inequalities and recession in the UK

an article by Tracey Warren (University of Nottingham, UK) published in Work Employment & Society Volume 29 Number 2 (April 2015)


The economic crisis that led to recession in the UK in 2008–9 impacted in multiple ways on work and economic life. This article examines changes to the work-time of employees.

The UK stood out for its recessionary expansion of work-time underemployment.

Working in a job that provides ‘too few’ hours can have serious ramifications for the economic livelihood of workers. Working-class workers are central here.

Drawing on analysis of large-scale survey data, the article identifies that workers in lower level occupations experienced the most substantial post-recessionary growth in the proportions working ‘too few’ hours. Did these work-time changes narrow or widen class inequalities in feelings of financial hardship?

The article concludes that although middle-class workers also saw their financial positions damaged, this so-called ‘first middle-class recession’ did not erode class inequalities in financial hardship among UK workers.

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