Local labour markets, workforce planning and underemployment

Donald Houston, Colin Lindsay, Robert Stewart, Byrne George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Underemployment in the UK and other European economies – that is people looking for a new job with longer hours, or wanting longer hours in their current job – has risen since the 2008-9 financial crisis. This article informs policy debates on how we can address underemployment as the UK. We deploy a mixed methods research design, which is necessary to identify how labour market conditions shape workforce planning, including establishment-level labour hoarding over a variety of temporal scales through underemployment. We analyse quantitative data identifying greater underemployment risks in less productive local economies and 'slacker' local labour markets (but note complex differences across rural and urban areas). We complement this with qualitative data drawing on exploratory interviews with employer representatives and identifying the potential importance of both labour market conditions and business models in shaping workforce planning decisions that affect underemployment risks. We then discuss priorities for labour market and employment policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 May 2024


  • labour market activity
  • workforce planning
  • underemployment


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