Nearly 300,000 more women ‘want work’ than their male counterparts, according to the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
And the total number of people looking for work is more than double the official unemployment rate.
A TUC analysis of unemployment data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveals how official figures fail to provide an accurate picture of all people seeking work.
Official figures only take into account the number of people who have recently applied for a job and whom are available to start work immediately. It fails to account for ‘economically inactive’ jobseekers who ‘want work’ but haven’t recently applied for a job, or whose circumstances mean they are unable to make an immediate start.
According to TUC’s analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the number of economically inactive people who want work fell by 73,000 between Jan-Mar 2012 and Jan-Mar 2015.
However, the number of economically inactive women who want work increased from 1,363,000 to 1,379,000 over the same period.
Meanwhile, the headline unemployment figure fell by more than 800,000, from 2,633,000 to 1,827,000.
Whilst the official unemployment rate is higher for men than women, the reverse is true for economically inactive people who are seeking work. The official unemployment rate for men is 990,000 and for women it is 815,000. However, the TUC says there are 1,379,000 economically inactive women seeking work, compared to just 920,000 men.
Combining both the official unemployment count AND the number of economically inactive people seeking work, reveals that a total of 4,103,000 people want a job – more than double the official unemployment figure. Of these, 2,194,000 are women and 1,910,000 are men – a difference of 284,000.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Six years on from the recession, the culture of low expectations on jobs and pay is well past its sell-by date. Reducing the claimant count alone is not good enough if there is still an additional two million people who want a job but don’t have one.
“The government should be especially concerned about the lack of progress for women with caring responsibilities who want to work. There are nearly 300,000 more women looking for work than men, and the gap is not closing.
“Given the number of women who work in public services, there’s a big danger that cuts due to be announced in November will mean major job losses, along with a reduction in family friendly job vacancies and a further rise in the number of women seeking work.”