Zero-hours contract employees are happy in their jobs

Zero-hours contract employees are just as happy as their colleagues on permanent, full-time contracts, according to a new research.

The research from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, found that zero-hours contract (ZHC) employees have similar levels of job satisfaction, work-life balance and personal well-being and good relationship with their managers and colleagues.

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Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “Zero-hours contracts are becoming a permanent feature of the UK labour market, but they are often characterised as offering low quality work on unfair terms, which is inferior to permanent, full-time contracts. Our research shows that zero-hours contracts employees don’t always see their jobs in such a negative light.

“On average, they find their jobs as satisfying as other employees which suggests that zero-hours contract offer positives as well as negatives. One positive is the flexibility they can offer to employees who otherwise may not be able to find work that suits them, but less involvement in the workplace may be a negative. That’s why it’s important to understand that this type of working arrangement may not suit everyone.

“What our report highlights is that the contract type isn’t usually the main factor driving someone’s job satisfaction. How people are managed, the work load they are under and their relationship with their line manager are usually more important. We all want to see better working lives for everybody but if we simply focus on zero-hours contracts as the source of poor quality working lives, we risk ignoring the bigger systemic issues which create low skilled and low quality work.”

However, the report also shows that, while the majority of zero-hours employees choose to work part-time, they are more likely than part-time employees as a whole to say they would like to work additional hours.

The research also revealed that nine in 10 part-time zero-hours employees (88 per cent) say they choose to work part time, but 22 per cent of these voluntary would like to work more hours, compared to 18 per cent of for all voluntary part-time employees.

It also presents the first comparable data for employees on short-hour contracts (those where employees are guaranteed up to 8 hours work per week) and shows that short-hours employees have an especially positive view of their situation with 74 per cent agreeing they have the right work-life balance. Also, just 14 per cent feel under excessive pressure at work at least once or twice a week, compared to 41 per cent of all employees.


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