Zero-hours contract employees as happy as permanent, full-time employees

08 December 2015

New survey evidence from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development suggests that, on average, zero-hours contract employees experience similar levels of job satisfaction, work-life balance and personal well-being to employees on permanent, full-time contracts.

The research also finds that zero-hours contract employees report comparable satisfaction levels in their relationship with their managers and colleagues. 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 updates the CIPD estimate of the number of employees on zero-hours contracts, which has increased from 1 million in 2013 to 1.3 million in 2015. Other key findings from the research, which draws on data from the ONS Labour Force Survey, the CIPD’s Employee Outlook survey and Labour Market Outlook surveys include:

  • The mean personal well-being score (on a scale with a minimum of zero and maximum of 40) is 26.2 for zero-hours contract employees, compared to 25.6 for all employees (employees with all types of contracts and working arrangements).
  • The proportion of zero-hours contract employees who are either very satisfied or satisfied with their jobs is 65%, compared to 63% for all employees. Zero-hours contract employees are also more likely to say they have the right work-life balance (62% compared to 58% for all employees) and less likely to feel under excessive pressure at work every day or at least once or twice a week (32% compared to 41% for all employees)
  • Nine in ten part-time zero-hours employees (88%) say they choose to work part time but 22% of these part-time zero-hours contract employees would like to work more hours, compared to 18% of all voluntary part-time employees.

The report 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% agreeing they have the right work-life balance. Also, just 14% feel under excessive pressure at work at least once or twice a week, compared to 41% of all employees.

Read the full report from the CIPD.