100,000 more women on zero hours contracts, new ONS figures show

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Responding to the latest ONS Labour Market Statistics published today, Sophie Walker, chief executive of the Young Women’s Trust, said: 

Jade“The figures out today show that 100,000 more women were on zero hours contracts in the last quarter compared to a year ago and a staggering third of all contracts were people aged 16-24. [1] 

“It is disappointing that ONS does not break down those numbers of young people by sex. Our own research shows that not only are young women more likely to be offered zero hours contracts than young men – and rely on them more in order to balance unpaid care responsibilities – but that they are also more likely to be offered fewer hours. [2] 

“We may have record high levels of female employment but these figures hide the fact that many women are in a precarious position, forced to take up zero hours contracts as the only way to balance the demands of unpaid care work and a flexible source of income; a trade-off between job security and the means to pay their bills. 

“Young Women’s Trust is campaigning for economic justice for young women and that means real choices around the work they do and the way they do it. Until government invest equally in care work and breaks down sexist barriers in traditionally male workplaces, women will never have equal pay and opportunities, regardless of a few headline numbers.”   


Notes to Editors 

  1. 560,000 women were on zero hours contracts between October – December 2019 compared to 414,000 men. This was 461,000 for women and 383,000 men in October – December 2018. 9.1% of 16-24 year olds were on zero hours contracts between October – December 2019 – the next age group most likely to be on the same contracts were 65+ at 5.1%. The number in employment on zero hours contracts was 974,000 and 350,000 of these were people aged 16-24. The datasheet can be found here.
  2. Young women facing constant financial struggle – Young Women’s Trust briefing https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/assets/0001/2763/Debt_briefing_final_2019.pdf
  3. Young Women's Trust is a feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for young women. https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/
  4. Contact the YWT press office on 07495 981142 or email Kirsty.ridyard@youngwomenstrust.org