15 November 2016
More than one in five workers now relies on precarious employment after the number of insecure jobs in the economy rose substantially over the last decade.
This is according to new analysis by labour market economist John Philpott for the Guardian, which showed the number of workers who could lose their jobs at short or no notice has grown by nearly two million over the last two years.
As many as 7.1 million people in the UK are now employed in precarious work compared with 5.3 million in 2006.
The figures encompass 4.7 million “self-employed” workers – including those misclassified as self-employed; as well as those on zero-hours or temporary contracts, the numbers of which have risen by 750,000 and 207,000 respectively over the last decade.
Low pay is endemic among this population, the analysis showed, with “self-employed” people taking home around half the wage of workers; those on zero-hours contracts earning even less at around 40% of typical pay; and temporary staff receiving two-thirds of the average income.
“The rise in self-employment has been hailed as part of the economy’s success story in the recovery, but for thousands of people it can mask some worrying trends – namely being forced into precarious, low-paid work,” Ashwin Kumar, chief economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, told the Guardian.