Women, students in full-time education and part timers are the most likely people to be on zero hours contracts, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Figures released today show the number of people employed on a zero-hours contract in their main job was 697,000 for October to December 2014, representing 2.3% of all people in employment. This represents a rise of 0.4% on the year before. However, the ONS says it could be that there is more awareness of zero hours contracts and that employees are more likely to class themselves as such. Similarly figures showing an apparent rise in the use of zero hours contracts between January and August 2014 – up from 1.4m to 1.8m – could be due to seasonal factors, it says.
The ONS says that zero hours contract workers are more likely than the average worker to want an increase in hours. On average, someone on a zero hours contract usually works 25 hours a week and around a third of such workers want more hours, with most wanting them in their current job. This compares with 10% of other people in employment.
People on such contracts are more likely to be aged under 25 or 65 and over and certain sectors are more likely to use the contracts. Over half of businesses in Accommodation and Food Services and a quarter of businesses in Education made some use of no guaranteed hours contracts in August 2014, says the ONS.