Zero-hours contracts are far more common among younger workers and students, official figures show.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday show that 34 per cent of the total number of people on zero-hours contracts are aged between 16 and 24.
People in full-time education make up 17 per cent of their total usage.
The controversial contracts generally do not guarantee a set number of hours worked, but there is lack of a specific definition, the ONS says. It warns that a rising trend in their usage may be partly down to wider recognition of what constitutes a zero-hours contract.
The ONS found that between October and December, 697,000 people were on zero-hours contracts. It was also revealed that people on the contracts work an average of 25 hours per week.
“Zero-hours contracts are a potent symbol of the recent downturn. They signal both the flexibility that has helped keep unemployment down but also the deep insecurity that has blighted many jobs,” said Conor D’Arcy, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation.