Zero Hours Contracts and Their Growth

Egidio Farina, Colin Green, Duncan McVicar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
257 Downloads (Pure)


This paper studies the prevalence and nature of zero-hours contracts (ZHCs) in the UK labour market. It is widely argued that the headline count of ZHC workers based on the Labour Force Survey historically underestimated the number of workers in ZHC jobs. Here we argue that this likely continues to be the case, particularly if one considers other, similar, no-guaranteed-hours jobs alongside ZHCs. ZHC jobs and workers are heterogeneous, but ZHCs have become increasingly concentrated among young workers, full-time students, migrants, black and minority ethnic workers, in personal service and elementary occupations, and in the distribution, accommodation and restaurant sector over time. Compared to other forms of employment, median wages in ZHC jobs have also fallen. The most common prior labour market state for ZHC workers is non-ZHC employment, particularly part-time employment, with part of the reported growth in ZHCs driven by reclassification of existing employment relationships. Finally, we show that growth in public awareness of ZHCs contributed substantially to recent growth in reported ZHCs, particularly over the period 2013/14.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Industrial Relations
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 28 Nov 2019


  • zero hours contracts, no guaranteed hours contracts, casual work, precarious employment, atypical employment


Dive into the research topics of 'Zero Hours Contracts and Their Growth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this