27 April 2018
The number of people on a zero-hour contract as their main job was nearly one million at the end of 2017, the Office for National Statistics revealed this week.
Around 901,000 workers were primarily employed on the contracts – which give no guarantee of hours – between October and December 2017, according to the latest Labour Force Survey.
Meanwhile, a survey of businesses in November 2017 showed there were 1.8 million zero-hour contracts in the economy, up from 1.7 million from the previous year.
Workers on zero-hour contracts make up 2.8% of the workforce, and work on average 25.2 hours a week. They are more likely to be female, young, part-time or in full-time education than other workers.
While 7.3% of people on different contracts say they want more hours, this rises to 25.3% among those who are on zero-hour contracts, suggesting that the so-called “flexibility” often touted as the benefit of casual work is frequently one-sided.
The proportion of all contracts that offered no guarantee of hours remained unchanged between 2016 and 2017 at 6%.