Number of women in full-time work increases

More women are working full time, according to the latest ONS figures, in part due to the increase in the retirement age.

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The number of people in work rose by 208,000 in the last quarter with employment up 0.5% to 76.3% due in part to a continuing increase in the number of women working full time, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figures show unemployment remained stable at 3.8%. The ONS notes that almost 9.3m women were working full-time, up almost 10% since November 2015 and nearly twice the rise for men. The increase is in part because of the increase in women’s retirement age.

The number of full-time workers was up 349,000 on the year to a record high of 24.36 million, with the annual increase in women working full time up 245,000 to 9.26 million. The number of men working part time dropped as did economic inactivity levels, but the number of part-time women workers was slightly up after recent falls.

Self-employment also increased to over five million mark with IPSE, the freelancers’ association attributing this to the rise in the number of women who are self-employed. While the number of self-employed men is still higher than women, the rate of increase of women in self employment is faster.

Inna Yordanova, Senior Researcher at IPSE, said: Not only have 16,000 more women gone into self-employment than men in the last quarter. Our research also shows the number of women in self-employment has grown by 57 per cent in the last 10 years compared to 25 per cent among men. And there was an even more remarkable 63 per cent increase in the number of highly skilled female freelancers.”

An IPSE survey found three out of four freelancers said they were happy with working for themselves, while just five per cent said they were unhappy. This is compared to 69 per cent across the entire workforce. It also found flexibility was a factor for people going freelance for 88% of people, with 83% citing the freedom to choose where they work and 84% saying the freedom to choose when they work. Just one in five (19%) said losing their job was a factor.

The ONS figures also show pay growth continues to be low. When bonuses were stripped out, pay growth slowed to 3.4% in the three months to November.

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