YWT calls on political parties to promise secure work

Thursday 11 May 2017

Young Women’s Trust calls on political parties to promise secure work for women, as statistics show nearly a million people are on zero-hours contracts 

YWTOffice for National Statistics data released today (11 May 2017) shows that 905,000 people are on a zero-hours contract. People on these contracts are most likely to be young, part-time, women, or in full-time education when compared with other people in employment. Around one in three people (32 per cent) on a zero-hours contract say they want more hours. 

Commenting, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“Zero-hours contracts and low pay are leaving young people struggling to make ends meet. Budgeting, paying your bills and planning ahead can be impossible when you don’t know how much money you will have coming in each month.

“Zero-hours contracts, many of which exploit young women, are used far too often. Young Women’s Trust research shows that one in three young women has been offered a contract with no guaranteed hours. 30 per cent in work are worried about not having enough paid hours.

“Young Women’s Trust is calling on all political parties to give young women the support they need to find decent, secure work. It is asking the next government to invest in jobs and skills for young women, improve support at job centres and prevent employers being able to pay young people less money than older people for the same work.”


Notes to editor: 

  1. A zero-hours contract is one that lacks a guaranteed minimum number of hours.
  2. The Office for National Statistics published ‘Contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours: May 2017’ on 11 May 2017. The data shows that:
    1. 905,000 people are on zero-hours contracts as their main form of employment;
    2. there were 1.7 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours, where work had actually been carried out under those contracts. This represented 6 per cent of all employment contracts;
    3. a bigger proportion of women report working on zero-hours contracts (52 per cent) compared with their proportion in employment not on zero-hours contracts (47 per cent);
    4. people who report being on a zero-hours contract are more likely to be young; 33 per cent of people on zero-hours contracts are aged 16 to 24 (compared with 12 per cent for all people in employment not on a zero-hours contract).
  3. The ONS data includes the latest figures from the Labour Force Survey for October to December 2016, first published in March 2017, as well as new estimates from the survey of businesses for May and November 2016.
  4. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to undertake a survey of young people between 27 June and 13 July 2016. A representative sample of 4,014 18-30 year olds in Great Britain, from the Populus Live Online Panel, were surveyed. Young Women’s Trust’s survey found that:
    1. 32 per cent of young women had been offered a zero hours contract (28 per cent of young men);
    2. 30 per cent of young women in work are worried about not having enough paid hours (26 per cent of young men);
    3. one in five 18-30 year olds reported having been paid less than the minimum wage, increasing to one in four among young women specifically;
    4. 39 per cent of young women said it was a struggle to make their cash last to the end of the month and 27 per cent of young women said they are in debt all of the time;
    5. more than half of young people said they feel worried for the future (55 per cent of young women, 47 per cent of young men).
  5. The report based on Young Women’s Trust’s annual survey, No Country For Young Women, can be found here: http://www.youngwomenstrust.org/assets/0000/4258/No_country_for_young_women__final_report.pdf
  6. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty.
  7. For more information or to speak to a young woman on a zero-hours contract, contact Bex Bailey at bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or 07963018281.