Is Underemployment a New Normal?

3 minute read
Is Underemployment A New Normal?- Leverage Edu
Is Underemployment A New Normal?- Leverage Edu

Underemployment is becoming a common problem across the globe. There are Individuals with outstanding skills, abilities, and education skill-set to perform certain tasks. But they are not able to use all their skills or availability to perform at their respective jobs.

Broadly, we can categorize underemployment in two groups- First includes workers or employees who are working much fewer hours than their actual potential in typical, in their domain. This category includes those who are willing and able to work more number of hours, but ended up getting only part time or hourly wages jobs to meet the ends and could not get through a full-time employment.

Another one is, where employees are working for full-time jobs but are not using all their skills. To measure this type of underemployment is almost impossible, it may need to analyze workers’ skills vs. job description/requirements and various surveys and research work. And workers fail to even realize that their skills can be put to better use somewhere else.

And there is another set of individuals who are not even counted as underemployed as Bureau of Labour Statistics only those people who had looked for a job in last 6-8 weeks. Such people fall under no man’s land.

Root Cause

A big slump in the economy and the resulting unemployment, ultimately causes underemployment. In Such situations where people seeking jobs, outnumber the jobs, they will take up anything they can get to pay for basic living and meet the ends. New innovations and technologies are good for the development of a country but works as a big cause for underemployment as well. For example, with ATM machines being placed across the globe, the need of bank tellers was almost diminished. For a career in banking and finance, these jobs were a perfect fit as entry-level positions . As a result, many fresh finance graduates take what they can, be it being a part time waiter, home health aides, or cab drivers. Computer technology cannot replace such jobs easily. 


The effects of underemployment are a vicious circle. This leads to higher poverty levels, where families can barely survive and can’t buy much. This leads to reduced demand and thus slowing business growth. As a result, the country’s GDP goes down and simultaneously dips the job growth.

If underemployment continues, employees will lose the capability to update themselves and would not be keen for on-the-job training. Many may not be able to return to their respective domain without formal training. In fact, most underemployed accept and adapt to this. They then go down on their lifestyle and this leads to big time structural unemployment.

Fresh graduates are not able to take up right jobs to take up a good career. They have no option but to perform jobs that are beneath their skills. They don’t get the right guidance and mentoring to enhance their skills to scale-up on greater heights in their carer. By the time the they get a right job or a slump ends, they are competing with a new group of graduates for entry-level positions in their domain.


Every person desire to live a best life. But, a good life is dependent on having a stable job with a steady source of income. People go to high school and then invest in higher education to learn essential skills to match relevant job in the future. A right Education is the key to reducing the level of underemployment/ unemployment.  It should be the privilege of a nation’s government to make sure that every citizen gets a right education. Additionally, people should keep working on increasing their creativity through alternate ways. They should keep adding online courses to their profile to earn well without relying on formal employment. We can accomplish this goal by utilizing natural talents and entrepreneurship.


Team Leverage

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