HR · 20 August 2015

A quarter of jobseekers have been offered zero-hours contracts

Anti-austerity protestors demonstrating against Sports Direct's use of zero-hours contracts
Anti-austerity protestors demonstrating against Sports Direct’s use of zero-hours contracts
Nearly half of those unemployed wouldprefer to have no jobthan take up a zero-hours contract, though a quarter of job seekers said they have been offered one.

Recruitment marketplace Glassdoor carried out research into the issue, after zero-hours contracts became a hotly-contested debate in the lead up to May’s general election.

It found that nearly one in four (23 per cent) of those unemployed in the UK had been offered one of these contracts. The sentiment towards them wasn’t positive, with 47 per cent saying they had turned down jobs offered because they were zero-hours contracts.

According to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), such contracts mean employees only work when they are needed, with pay dependent on how many hours they work. At the beginning of 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported there were just under 700, 000 people in the UK on zero-hours contracts.

The majority of the 1, 001 job seekers surveyed said the main reason they rejected a zero-hours contract was because they needed to receive a guaranteed level of income in order to stop receiving benefits, while 44 per cent said they felt a lack of trust towards employers who offered them.

Another repeated reason given was the unpredictable hours, with 30 per cent unhappy with such irregularity. Over ten per cent had admitted to being swayed by negative press coverage, which had put them off pursuing any such employment agreements.

Some 45 per cent of unemployed jobseekers feel zero-hours contracts are exploitative, with 39 per cent taking ahardline stanceand saying they’d like to see them abolished.

Glassdoor’s John Ingham said: People that take zero-hours contracts generally do so because they feel they have to rather than they want to.

He pointed out that while this could be interpreted as employers exploiting the most vulnerable, namely people who really need the money, this wasn’t the case for everyone. For others it is a useful stop-gap, it can provide valuable work experience and the flexibility can be a positive depending on your life stage, ” he said.



Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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