Part-time Employment and Labour Market Policies
Part-time employment is defined for statistical purposes as persons voluntarily working 30 hours or less per week excluding meal breaks and overtime. On this basis, some 5.1 million workers in Great Britain are engaged on a part-time basis representing about a quarter of the workforce. Part-time working is not simply a characteristic of jobs growth in the 1980s, but has been a significant feature of Britain’s employment structure for at least three decades; one in ten workers were part-timers in 1961. Figure I shows that between 1951 and 1981, the number of full-time employees fell by 2.65 million while part-time employment rose by over 4 million and increased its share of total employment from 4 to 21 per cent. Since 1981 the growth of part-time working has continued, rising a further 700 000 by 1987, to 24 per cent of total employment. All recent employment projections forecast that the growth in part-time jobs will continue; the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick has estimated that 28 per cent of all jobs will be part-time by 1995.
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