The Fraser of Allander Institute together with the Scottish Centre for Employment Research are working on a project funded by the Standard Life Foundation to examine changing patterns of working hours and implications for poverty and inequality.
During the past two decades there have been substantial changes in the patterns of hours worked in the UK. But the trends have played out very differently across different groups and job-types. But relatively little is known about what drives the trends.
This project has three main objectives. First, it is examining trends in working hours and underemployment. Second, it is assessing the role that different factors have played in driving these trends. And third, it is discussing whether or not there is a role for policy in influencing patterns of working hours or in mitigating the effects of changing working patterns on the distribution of incomes.
Although the project was conceived well before the Covid-19 epidemic took hold, we plan in due course to examine how working patterns are changing during the pandemic and (hopefully) the recovery. But in the meantime it is still useful to consider what has happened in recent years, as past trends may shed light on how the labour market might respond to current and future economic shocks and policy responses.