illustration of people with money
The number of over-50s working in zero-hours contracts has surged to a record high, new data has shown.
In less than a decade, the number of people aged 50 and over on zero hours contracts has doubled to nearly 300,000, according to analysis of official data by Rest Less, a website for older jobseekers.
The over 50s now account for more than a quarter of all zero hours contract workers. From July to September 2022, the total was 296,000 – the highest number since records began in 2013.
Many of the older workers who quit did so before the cost of living crisis. Surging costs have brought record pressure on household budgets, forcing many workers to supplement their income with zero hours contract work.
Stuart Lewis, chief executive of Rest Less, warned that some older workers are being forced into insecure employment because of age discrimination from employers.
He added: “We know of many individuals who have turned to zero hours contracts as they have been unable to find a more permanent or structured type of work due to age discrimination or a lack of workplace flexibility.
“Others are juggling zero hours contracts alongside other part-time roles to top up working hours to make ends meet amidst double digit inflation.”
Since the end of 2013, the number of people aged 50-64 working on zero hours contracts has jumped by 108pc to hit 223,000. This age group now accounts for the second largest number of zero hours contracts, after 16 to 24-year-olds.
The pace of growth in the 50 to 64 age group was the fastest across all generations and far-outstripped the 39pc increase amongst those aged 25 to 34 – which was the second largest group in 2013.
Among those aged 65 and above, the number of people working on zero hours contracts jumped by 75pc to 73,000.
Across the UK, the number of people working on zero hours contracts has surged from 585,000 at the end of 2013 to 1.45 million, a 79pc increase.