By Pravin Jeyaraj
There are now more people on zero hours contracts in the United Kingdom than there were before the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic in March 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
In the latest Labour Force Survey, 996,000 people told the ONS that they are on zero hours contracts during the period July to Septemer 2021, compared to 985,000 people for the period January to March 2020.
It's not quite as high as the peak during the first lockdown, when the number of zero hours contracts broke through the one million mark. But, with employment going up, despite the ending of the furlough scheme, it quite likely to reach that level by next year.
The data indicates that many people are not happy to be on zero hours contracts, with 14% looking for either a new job or extra work, compared to 4.3% of those who are not on zero hours contracts. A big factor of this dissatisfaction has to be the lack of work - and thus lack of income - available on a zero hours contract, with almost a quarter (23.4%) saying they are underemployed, compared to 6.5% of people who are not on zero hours contracts.
Source: Office for National Statistics
Over a third (36.4%) of people on zero hours contracts have been with their employer for just 12 months of less, with 25.9% staying with their employer for two to five years, 16.4% staying between 1 and 2 years and 21% staying for longer than five years.
People on zero hours contracts are, statistically, more likely to be foreign origin. When looking at nationality, 3.8% of non-UK nationals are employed on a zero hours contract, compared to 3% of UK nationals. When looking at country of birth, 4% of those born outside the UK are employed on zero hours contracts, compared to 2.8% of those born in the UK.
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