The underemployment It is the situation that occurs when a person who is age and physically able to work, does so but not in the fullest form of work, which would be the one that occurs in accordance with what the legal regulations suggest.
In this way, underemployment usually occurs as a manifestation of the labor informality (or black work), especially in cases where the States intervene strongly to improve the living conditions of employees.
In countries where regulations Regarding working conditions are less strict, as in those governed by labor flexibility regimes, it is common for underemployment to exist even within formal employment.
The formal definition of underemployment, then, encompasses a multiplicity of circumstances among which the fact that a person works appears as the main ones less hours of those that correspond to someone who dedicates their professional life to work (obviously, in the event that this lack of hours is not of their own free will).
Underemployment includes situations in which a person is working in a much lesser task to which he is qualified, and also when the income that a worker receives is less than that of the work he does for regular remuneration.
The measurement of underemployment within a country, it is usually carried out by means of a permanent household survey. This is a different instrument from the national census since it does not deal with going to each of the houses, but rather selects a sample that seeks to be as representative as possible.
Underemployment, then, is an estimate. But in addition, an elementary question of the methodology of this survey is that, of the three causes of underemployment mentioned in the previous paragraph, it only reaches one of them: a survey of this type never asks about the remuneration that a person receives, nor nor does it deal too much with personal considerations about the condition of each person.
With this, only the hourly underemployment remains, which is what can be measured: the permanent survey of households only consider as underemployed a person who worked less than 35 hours in the last week, in the event that this situation was not due to their own will to work less.
On many occasions underemployment is a very serious problem, especially when it comes from the hand of an economic crisis in which the least qualified workers (and with the least capacity to save) are always the most affected.
Sometimes the problem of underemployment is manifested by a very large difference between the supply and demand of work, so it can be read as a problem originating from education: there are many situations in which the programmatic orientation of the majority of schools or universities has little to do with what companies in a country are thinking of hiring.
Examples of underemployment
- A doctor, who takes care of changing the light tubes in the hospital where he works.
- An engineer, who receives the minimum wage for working in a state hydraulic work.
- A teacher who must get each of his classes, and in a week works 20 hours.
- A person who has had a child, and after his or her leave ends, does not have the possibility of turning to someone to take care of him, so he must reduce his number of hours working.
- In many first world countries it is common to find university students serving coffee.
- A bus driver, who worked 30 hours in the last week.
- The domestic workers, who usually do not get to work 35 hours.
- A pharmacist who works three hours a day.
- A pilot working as a taxi driver.
- Teachers, who usually earn a relatively very low income.