Dr Vanesa Fuertes from the School of Education and Social Sciences at UWS is part of a four-university consortium that has won UKRI/ESRC funding worth £962,977 to study underemployment in the UK.  

The project, ‘A sociological investigation of underemployment and the lived experiences of underemployed workers’, will begin in January 2023 and address an important social issue: the increase in underemployed and vulnerable workers.

Workers who are underemployed work below their potential or preference in terms of hours, wages and skills. The study will track levels of underemployment over time in the UK and across Europe, detail the composition of the underemployed workforce, pinpoint the predictors and outcomes of being underemployed and highlight the lived experiences of underemployed workers in four UK cities. 

Dr Vanesa Fuertes said: 

“Underemployment is of concern for our economy and for the individuals, families, and communities affected by it. This project will investigate the impact it has on various facets of life and society. The aim is that better understanding of its causes and consequences will lead to some improvements in the lives of underemployed individuals.”

Professor Tracy Warren from Nottingham University said:

“Underemployment affects not only individual workers but also their families, communities, unions, industrial relations systems, employers and businesses, and business models, making the research results highly relevant to policymakers and their practices.”

The project team includes Dr Vanessa Beck (PI, University of Bristol), Professor Tracy Warren and Dr Luis Torres (Nottingham University), and Dr Daiga Kamērade (University of Salford). The research will involve collaborative work with four partners: Bristol One City, Nottingham Citizens, Salford City Council, and the Poverty Alliance, Glasgow.