Being on a zero-hours contract is bad for your health, new study reveals

Young adults who are employed on zero-hours contracts are less likely to report feeling healthy, compared to those in more secure employment.

Researchers from the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at UCL analysed information on more than 7,700 members of Next Steps. They discovered that those of you on zero-hours contracts were at greater risk of reporting symptoms of mental ill health. The report showed that shift workers were at no greater risk than those working regular hours to be in poor health, but were more likely to have psychological problems.

The lead author, Dr Morag Henderson, said: “Millennials have faced a number of challenges as they entered the world of work. They joined the labour market at the height of the most recent financial crisis and faced higher than ever university fees and student loan debt.

“There is evidence that those with a precarious relationship to the labour market, such as shift workers, zero-hours contract holders and the unemployed are more at risk of poor mental health and physical health than their peers.

This study also gave an interesting overview of what type of work you were employed in at age 25. Two thirds of you were employed full-time, 1 in 8 (12%) were employed part time, and 7 per cent were unemployed. Around a quarter (23%) worked shifts, and 5 per cent had zero-hours contracts.

By occupation, the largest proportion of you (15%) were working in professional roles, such as teachers, engineers and accountants. A further 14 per cent had professional support roles, including paramedics, librarians and pharmacists, 9 per cent were in administrative or secretarial occupations and 8% had manual roles, such as general labourers and forestry workers.