Social Justice Ireland has expressed alarm over the number of people in Ireland trapped in part-time roles which are causing increased dependency on state income supports.
In the think tank’s quarterly ‘Employment Monitor’, which examines
Ireland’s employment situation, including employment numbers, labour
market trends, and other aspects of the macro-economy, SJI warns that
“headline employment figures mask worrying trends”.
According to Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst with Social
Justice Ireland, “Over 100,000 people are currently working part-time
hours, but would take full-time employment if they could find it.”
The figure has increased by 25 per cent since 2008 and “points to a
worrying employment trend in Ireland”, according to the SJI
Outlining some of the key findings from the latest Employment Monitor
published on Monday, Michelle Murphy warned that approximately 13 per
cent of people in part-time employment are in receipt of (reduced)
Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit.
She said this raises issues of income adequacy and the growing
difficulty in generating quality sustainable full-time employment.
“Although many employment indicators are positive, hidden within
headline employment figures are a number of problems, including
significant underemployment, high levels of low pay, and hundreds of
thousands of workers earning a wage that is below subsistence level,”
Michelle Murphy stressed that “A change of narrative is required” and
added that improving headline employment figures is important, but “the
drive for stronger job creation should not come at the cost of
diminishing job quality and security.”
“As employment numbers continue to improve, issues relating to the
quality of employment and adequacy of income must figure more
prominently in the policy discussion. A sustained and well-supported
public investment programme can help push Ireland towards levels of
employment required to properly meet demand whilst addressing some major
infrastructural deficits in areas such as social housing, broadband and
other necessary capital infrastructure,” Michelle Murphy commented.
The SJI researcher said that in order to deliver such a public
investment programme, Ireland needs a new economic model: “One that
generates the necessary revenue to provide the services needed and that
creates decent and appropriate employment for everyone in the country
who wants it.”
Social Justice Ireland’s Employment Monitor is available here: https://www.socialjustice.ie/content/publications/employment-monitor-issue-3.