Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Indeed reports increasing demand for zero hours contracts

Zero sum game? As official figures show a fall in zero hour contracts, more jobseekers are looking for zero hours jobs.

  • Official figures show the number of people working on a zero hours contract has fallen for the first time since 2010
  • But it’s too soon to write off the controversial contracts, as data published by the world’s biggest job site Indeed shows the number of people looking for zero hours work has risen

A growing number of British jobseekers are seeking out roles with zero hour contracts, according to data released today by the world’s biggest job site Indeed.

Zero hours contracts, which don’t guarantee the employee any set number of working hours, have become a lightning rod issue - and the Government has faced repeated calls to do more to regulate their use by Britain’s booming ‘gig economy.’

Earlier this week the Office for National Statistics revealed that in the second quarter of 2017, the number of people on zero hours contracts fell to 883,000 - the first drop since 2010.

However, data published by Indeed shows that among jobseekers the popularity of zero hours jobs actually increased during the same period. In fact between January and August, the proportion of jobhunters searching for ‘zero hour’ or ‘no contract’ jobs rose by 18%.

July saw the highest figures, and between May and June there was a staggering  23% month-on-month increase in the proportion of searches for zero hour jobs.

Typical zero hour contract roles include delivery drivers, hospitality workers, sports instructors, factory workers and seasonal positions.

Indeed’s research comes as the ONS revealed that only a small fraction (6%) of those currently on a zero hours contract want a new job with longer hours, suggesting that despite the controversy surrounding them, zero hours contracts do have their fans.

EMEA economist at Indeed, Mariano Mamertino, comments:

‘’Zero hours contracts are deeply polarising. Whether you see them as exploitative or empowering, one thing has held true over the the past few years - the number of them has increased steadily.

“So the ONS’s revelation that this trend may have reversed is hugely significant. Yet Indeed’s data suggests that not only does a proportion of  jobseekers still want zero hours contracts, but their number is increasing.

‘’Time after time, flexibility comes up as a crucial factor people look for in a job, which may go some way to explaining zero hour contracts’ continued popularity among jobseekers.’’