The introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020 led to a significant fall in employment in Ireland. Between quarter 1 and quarter 2 2020, employment numbers fell by 131,000; this fall was particularly pronounced for those working part-time, with a fall of almost 80,000 persons employed (or 16%, compared to a 3% decline for full-time workers).
The primary aim of this paper is to establish a profile of those who were working part-time in Ireland prior to the onset of COVID-19 (in this case quarter 1 2020) so as to establish who, within this cohort, may most require labour market interventions, in light of the fall in employment that has occurred since. We examine how part-time working has evolved since the recession, who is most likely to work part-time in terms of age, gender and educational background and how part-time working patterns vary according to the sector and occupation of employment.
Those part-time workers who became unemployed as a result of COVID-19 may be at particular risk of becoming detached from the labour force if the duration of unemployment is prolonged. Many were employed in sectors such as wholesale and retail and accommodation and food which have yet to see a significant recovery in employment. Maintaining proximity to the labour market and the ability to up-skill and re-skill is fundamental to ensure that no one is left behind in the current economic situation.