Onrec logo The Online Recruitment Resource

Adzuna comments on today's ONS Zero-hour contract figures

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments:

Company Profile


“Zero-hour contracts offer flexibility, but at a price, giving employees lower job security and less control over potential earnings. The numbers of zero-hour contracts has grown rapidly across the past year, so they are now a key component of the UK jobs market. Politicians across both parties have promised to toughen up workers’ rights but ongoing problems remain unchallenged.

“In the evolving UK labour market, flexibility is key. There’s a real demand for more choice about working hours and a strong desire to achieve a fulfilling work life balance. Few companies have adapted to this change – leaving many job hunters to seek self-employed positions. And with employers resistant to fill this gap and stray from a normal working routine, zero-hour contracts offer the main alternative.

“Juggling childcare and commitments is a real problem faced by many women in the workforce. There are advantages to zero-hour contracts, which can be a lifeline for women needing extra income but still wanting flexibility. Zero-hours doesn’t have to mean zero-choices. But too often employees are left without job security and employers holding all the cards. Legislation is overdue to make sure productivity isn’t being prioritised at the expense of workers’ rights.”

ONS Employee contracts which do not guarantee a minimum no. of hours (March 2016)

  • On average, someone on a “zero-hours contract” usually works 26 hours a week.
  • Around 1 in 3 people (37%) on a “zero-hours contract” want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job, as opposed to a different job which offers more hours.
  • The latest estimate of the number of people who are employed on “zero-hours contracts” in their main employment, from the LFS  is 801,000 for October to December 2015, representing 2.5% of people in employment
  • This is 15% higher than the reported figure for October to December 2014 (697,000 or 2.3% of people in employment)
  • People on “zero-hours contracts” are more likely to be young, part time, women, or in full-time education when compared with other people in employment.
  • The results from our latest survey of businesses indicates that there were around 1.7 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours