Number of older workers on zero-hour contracts almost doubles in six years

The number of older workers in the UK on zero-hour contracts has almost doubled over the past six years, according to new research by Just Group.

Quoting data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Just Group revealed the number of workers aged between 50 and 64 years on zero-hours contracts grew by 93% to 207,000 from the period between October and December 2013, to the figure found between April and June 2019.

The retirement specialist indicated that this increase was rising at a faster rate than any other age group, and raised concerns that older workers may be finding it difficult to find jobs with standard conditions.

Just Group's research found that 40% of those aged between 55 and 74 years retiring early had done so due to health or physical problems – with a further 18% made redundant and unable to find new employment.

The research, commissioned by Just Group and conducted by Opinium, surveyed 1,607 retired or semi-retired UK residents over the age of 55.

Group communications director at Just Group, Stephen Lowe, commented: “The number of workers aged 50 to 64 reached a record high of 9.284 million.

“It is interesting to note that the number in this age group on zero-hours contracts was up 93% since the end of 2013. This growth is far higher than for any other age group, and is during a period the ONS highlights as seeing a substantial increase in these kind of employment contracts.

“A benign explanation might be that this reflects older workers easing themselves into retirement. A more worrying explanation is that people in this age group are finding it difficult to find jobs with standard employment conditions.

“It is very worrying if many of those who are seeking jobs in their pre-retirement years are only able to find zero-hours contracts which don’t offer the wage security they are looking for.”

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