With the number of by unemployed women in the UK up 32,000 to 1.2 million, it's not unreasonable to conclude that women are being squeezed in the jobs market.
Figures for October to December last year show not only that unemployment among women is at its highest for 23 years, but that many of the new jobs created were part time posts.
This brings the total number in part time jobs to 7.87m and the number of people who say they are doing them because they have no alternative rose by 83,000 to 1.35m.
But while on the surface these figures point to women bearing the brunt of unemployment and the shortage of full time positions, it's worth bearing in mind that having a part time work isn't viewed negatively by everyone.
What of the remaining 78 percent, or 5.13 million who are not, as the Daily Telegraph's jobs editor Louise Peacock wrote 'forced' take part time jobs but actually wanted or sought out part time hours?
Emma Stewart MBE of Women Like Us, a recruitment service that specialises in matching women to part time roles in the London area, believes the underemployment story is "less across the piece than is made out" and that there is a large proportion of women - and men - who are actively seeking part time work.
Their reasons for doing so are varied -- many women want to work part time while they are bringing up young children, others have elderly parents they care for. With recent research by the Harvard Business School showing that Generation Y place a high value on work-life balance, part time jobs take on a new dimension.
Stewart recognises that part time work isn't for everyone, but says of those that are in part time work, even those that say they would prefer full time positions, it depends on the questions you ask:
"If you ask someone who wants to earn more money and the only option they have is to do more hours rather than doing a better quality part time job, then clearly they are going to choose more hours," she said.
It's difficult to know what's going on in the part time jobs market because the Office for National Statistics doesn't gather data on vacancies. Only Jobs Centre Plus collects those figures and they tend to be the lower end of the job market.
Anecdotally, however, Stewart can vouch for the fact that there is a real lack of "quality" part time jobs. The idea for Women Like Us came after Stewart and her business partner Karen Mattison MBE found they were frequently asked if there were more women "like them" who would take on part time roles.
But the final push came when they met a woman who before she had her children had worked as a web editor for a leading publisher and was seriously considering taking a job as a school meals superviser because it was the only work that fitted in with her children's school hours.
The creation of a "quality" part time jobs market would not only provide women with the means of getting jobs that match their skills and open up jobs for women at the lower end of the market, they would also be good for business too, argues Stewart, who adds that part time work needs a "rebrand".
"Many businesses are realising that in times of austerity, when you haven't got the budget, but still need to access good quality talent, you can really open up your candidate pool if you think about part time because you can get really good candidates and manage your budget more effectively."
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