Male work patterns see big shift to part-time roles, study says

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Media captionEmma Simpson meets some of the men going part-time

Male working patterns have seen a big shift towards part-time roles, a study has found.

Almost one in eight men work part-time today, compared with fewer than one in 12 two decades ago, according to the Resolution Foundation think tank.

It says more men in low paid roles are working fewer hours or part time, while higher paid men work more.

Resolution analyst Stephen Clarke called it a "hollowing out" of the male workforce, with fewer middle earners.

The study, Counting the Hours, found:

  • the share of men earning less than £175 a week (a third of the typical male weekly wage) has increased by 70% over the last 20 years
  • Meanwhile, the share of higher-paid men earning more than £1,060 (double the typical weekly wage) has increased by 15%
  • In contrast, the share of middle-earning men - making between £400 and £660 a week - has fallen by 15%

The foundation says the change has been driven in large part by the rising number of male part-time employees, which has increased by more than 50% since 1997.

The average number of hours worked by low-paid men has fallen from 44.3 in 1997 to 42.2 in 2016.

At the same time, average hours for the highly paid have increased by 0.5.

Stephen Clarke said: "When people talk about the labour market 'hollowing out' they're normally referring to mid-skilled jobs moving to other parts of the world, or disappearing altogether as a result of automation.

"But Britain's real hollowing out problem has much more to do with the hours people are working than the rates of pay different jobs bring.

"The increase in earnings inequality among men is about the increasing number of low-paid men who are either reducing their hours or moving into part-time work, in some cases against their wishes."

He added: "Women still dominate part time and low-paid work but men are increasingly joining them.

"For the sake of both sexes we should be concerned about the numbers who find themselves there when they desperately need a full-time job."

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