Almost one in four unemployed adults surveyed in the UK has been offered a zero hours contract, according to new research from jobs and recruitment marketplace Glassdoor.
However, almost half of people offered such jobs have turned them down. Zero hours contracts mean employees work only when they are needed and pay depends on how many hours they work.
The main reasons cited for rejecting zero hours contracts were:
– The need to receive a guaranteed level of income in order to stop receiving benefits (54 percent)
– Lack of trust towards employers offering this type of contract (44 percent)
– Unhappiness with the irregular working hours these contract offer (30 percent)
– Negative press coverage about them (13 percent).
The research also reveals that 45 percent of unemployed people surveyed feel that these contracts are exploitative and 39 percent would like to see them abolished. More than one in three feel these contracts are only beneficial for employers. When it comes to how dedicated zero hours employees are, 25 percent claim it would make them work harder as they would want to move over to a permanent contract. However, 18 percent feel they wouldn’t work as hard as their colleagues if they felt they had an inferior contract.
Fifty three percent of currently unemployed people who were offered a zero hours contract in the past accepted it. For many this wasn’t necessarily a positive move, more a necessity. More than two thirds simply needed the money at the time the zero hours contract was offered, 37 percent had no choice and more than one in four needed the work experience. However, on a more positive note, 22 percent claimed the job was just a stop-gap so the type of contract wasn’t an issue. Approximately one in five saw the contract as a positive and the flexibility that it offers suited them. Over one in 10 of those who accepted would prefer to take a job than claim benefits.
The likelihood of rejecting this type of contract is influenced by the length of time the individual has been out of work. One in four (25 percent) of those that have been unemployed for 6-12 months would say no to an offer of this type, rising to 33 percent of those unemployed for one to two years. This sentiment grows to 76 percent of those that have been unemployed for more than ten years, unwilling to accept a zero hours contract.
The survey reveals older workers are less keen to accept zero hours contracts. It shows that 40 percent of unemployed adults would accept a zero hours contract if they were offered one. This compares to 47 percent of 16-24 year olds, 50 percent of 25-34 year olds, 35 percent of 35-44 year olds, 29 percent of 45-54 year olds and 24 percent of those aged 55 years or older.
One in five of those surveyed do not know what a zero hours contract is, with 28 percent of those who are out of work in London not being aware compared to just 13 percent in the Midlands.