Underemployment refers to when a person is employed but wishes to work more hours.

About 1 in 10 (11%) working age people with disability who are employed want to work more hours than they do, compared with around 1 in 13 (8%) without disability (Figure 1). This was higher among those with severe or profound disability (15%, compared with 11% with other disability).

Youth (aged 15–24) with disability are more likely than people with disability of other ages to want to work more hours—29% are underemployed, compared with 9% of those aged 25–64 (Figure 1). This was especially the case for employed youth with severe or profound disability, of whom 46% are underemployed.

Although working-age females with disability are more likely than their male counterparts to be working part time (see Labour force participation), they are also less likely to want a job with more hours. More than 2 in 5 (42%) employed working-age females with disability do not want a job with more hours, compared with 1 in 5 (19%) of their male counterparts.

Where can I find out more?

Detailed data tables are available at Data.

For information on the ABS SDAC—ABS SDAC.


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2016. Microdata: disability, ageing and carers, Australia, 2015. ABS cat. no. 4430.0.30.002. Canberra: ABS. AIHW analysis of TableBuilder. 

Alternative text for Underemployment

Figure 1

Stacked column chart showing underemployment of employed working-age people with and without disability. The reader can select to display the chart by sex, by age group, including 15-24, 25-64 years and all ages, and by disability status. The chart shows people with severe or profound disability aged 15-24 are more likely (46%) to be underemployed than those without disability (19%). Back to figure 1