Under-employment ‘holding Wales back’


Plaid puts forward ideas to increase value in the Welsh economy

Plaid Cymru has warned that under-employment is holding back the Welsh economy as ONS figures revealed a near 60% increase in those in work but either working fewer hours than they would like or below their qualification level.

Economy spokesperson Alun Ffred Jones said that the challenge was not just getting people into work but adding value to the economy through better paid jobs and increasing opportunities for skilled workers.

There has been an increase from 86,000 before the recession to 134,000 who fall into the under-employment category – a rise of 58%.

Alun Ffred Jones said that this was an issue across gender and generation, saying that we particularly need to develop employment practices which help parents to work as well as care for children and that available jobs meet the skills developed by young people through education and training.

This productivity gap partly explains why the Welsh economy has been under-performing compared to its potential.

The Party of Wales Shadow Economy Minister Alun Ffred Jones said:

“There is great potential for the Welsh economy, but it has not been performing as strongly as it should be doing.

“There has been an increase in the number of jobs in Wales, but they have often been at the lower end of the market – where wages are lower and jobs often less secure.

“If we are to close our productivity gap then we must create more high value jobs which pay better and use the skills learnt through education and training.

“We must also make sure that our employment practices work for us across both gender and generation.

“That means identifying improvements in childcare and flexible working or job-sharing which will bring people back into gainful work.

“It also means creating more mainstream research and development jobs, like those we hope will come as part of the Bangor and Aberystwyth universities Science Park that Plaid Cymru support.

“Investing in high quality jobs – just as we are investing in high quality apprenticeships – brings its own rewards.

“Tax varying powers for the Welsh Government will better incentivise the development of better paid employment, particularly for young graduates and the like who are well qualified and want to stay in Wales but cannot find appropriate work.

“Plaid Cymru’s Plan C for improving procurement will also help, developing supply chains and skills as part of creating nearly 50,000 new jobs in Wales.

“The same is true for our Welsh investment bank which can help small businesses develop ideas and create new jobs.

“Unfortunately this productivity gap and under-employment is holding Wales back un-necessarily.

“Our people are our biggest advantage in Wales, and this shows that there is plenty that can be done if Wales is to reach our potential.”