Alex Dalland

While a lot of Australians wouldn’t mind a day off now and then, as many as one million of us want to work more than they currently do.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 94 per cent of self-described ‘underemployed’ people surveyed wanted to work more hours than they currently do, and this was particularly the case with those in opposite ends of the workforce.

“Around 34 per cent of underemployed part-time workers aged 15–19 had experienced insufficient work for one year or more; this was compared to 56 per cent aged 45 years and over,” Jacqui Jones, Program Manager of Labour and Income Branch from the ABS says.

Financial data group Canstar notes that in late October this year, 9.3 per cent of the workforce described themselves as underemployed. Seasonally adjusted, they note that this is the highest percentage of underemployment on record.

“The latest jobs figures confirm there is an employment crisis in Australia, with more and more working people being forced to take insecure casual or part-time positions over permanent full-time positions,” Ged Kearney, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions says.

“Australian people want to work more, but in the eight years since the global financial crisis underemployment has risen two percentage points by more than 207,000 people.”

The Australian Council of Trade Unions, the national representative body for all industry unions in Australia, notes that over 82 per cent of jobs created over the last year were part time.

While underemployment appears to be a concern with part-time workers, Federal government data also indicates that the number of people without work is at a three year low.

“Total unemployment fell by 12,500 over the month, and has declined by 65,300 (or 8.5 per cent) over the year, to stand at 705,100 in September, the lowest level recorded since November 2013,” Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said in a recent statement.