Number of employees on zero hour contracts doubles in 6 years

Zero hour contracts 2005-2011
Zero hour contracts 2005-2011 – click to see a larger, interactive version

Official data shows a dramatic increase in the number of people on zero hour contracts since 2005, writes Danielle Hudspith.

In the six years since then the number of people working on zero hour contracts between April and June rose from almost 55,000 to over 105,000.

And between October and December the figures more than doubled from over 75,000 to almost 161,000.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), do not include data for January-March or July-September, or any quarter during 2010.

The biggest year-on-year increase took place in the final quarter of 2006, when zero hour contract workers increased by over 77%. That year also saw the biggest Spring increase – by almost 50%.

The Gender Split

The last six years have also seen a clear gender divide appearing: in 2005 more men than women were working on zero hour contracts – but by 2011 the balance had reversed, with almost six in every ten zero hour workers being female.

Click on the images below to switch between years and see the changes for Quarter 2 (April-June) and Quarter 4 (October-December).

Zero hour contracts by gender, Quarter 2 2005-2011
Zero hour contracts by gender – click for an interactive version
Zero hour contracts by gender - Quarter 4
Zero hour contracts by gender – Quarter 4. Click for interactive version.

If you know of other data on zero hour contracts – or employment generally – please get in touch.