However the economy fares, this government is headed towards being the worst ever in terms of regression in job quality.
Fixated on the headline job figures, the Coalition has allowed part-time work and underemployment to blossom. A quarter of those in part-time roles say they want to work longer each week. Figures released today show apart from being less well-paid, part-time work often comes with a career penalty.
A new poll of 1,163 employed people, performed by Survation as part of the Unions21 Fair Work Commission has found 6 in 10 say their current job is just a way to pay the bills until they can find something better, rather than one step in part of a longer career. This is higher for part-time workers (76.6%) than full-time (54.8%).
Part-time workers are more likely to see ‘lack of opportunities to progress’ in their jobs as a barrier to workplace fairness, with 18.7% identifying it as their priority.
Any Labour vision of “fair work” must include the opportunity to advance, with workplace training a key factor. The poll found that part-time workers rated their current workplace training as worse, with only 31.14% rating it ‘good’ compared with 44.3% of full-time employees.
From the policies we presented in the survey, working people picked ‘a guaranteed minimum level of training for all employees’ as their favourite (40.5%). They also favoured an extension of paid time-off for training for basic skills to those up to the age of 25 (up from age 18) (17.3%), and a commitment from employers to give all employees statements on the training they should expect (15.6%).
These new figures should encourage Labour to make ‘fair work’ a priority issue in its policy review – and to challenge the Coalition on its record on job quality.
Dan Whittle is the Director of Unions21