Insecure work by age

Date 1 September 2017
Date updated 6 October 2017

Insecure workers by age

What does this chart show?

This graph shows the proportion of employees aged 16 to 64 who are at risk of being in insecure employment by age group in London and the rest of England. Here we define the risk of insecure work as being on a zero-hours contract, in temporary employment, working for an agency, or some combination of these. It is important to note that this does not mean that all workers will experience these forms of employment negatively. This indicator also looks only at employees, and not self- employed workers who might be on a zero-hours, temporary or agency contract.

Since the recession the UK as a whole has seen a larger increase in insecure work than many other countries.* The Trades Union Congress found that the number of people in insecure work, which it defines as those working without guaranteed hours or baseline employment rights, increased by 27% in the  ve years between 2011 and 2016.**

In 2014 – 16 in London, 10% (350,000) of working-age employees were at risk of being in insecure employment, compared with 9% in the rest of England. In both London and the rest of England, young adult employees (aged 16 to 24) are much more likely to be in insecure employment at 22% and 21% in London and the rest of England respectively (90,000 and 570,000), double the proportion overall. In London each age group has a slightly higher proportion of insecure workers than in the rest of the country apart from those aged 25 to 29 and those aged 60 to 64.

The risk of being in insecure employment is also not even across different ethnic groups. Those from a minority ethnic background are more at risk but their risk is lower in London than the rest of England. In London those of Black British, African or Caribbean ethnicity fared the worst, with 17% of people of these ethnicities being in insecure employment. This is 7 percentage points higher than the overall proportion of 10%. The risk of insecure employment was lowest for Chinese, Indian, White and Bangladeshi groups.

* Hudson-Sharp, N. and Runge, J. (2017) International trends in insecure work: A report for the Trades Union Congress. London: National Institute of Economic and Social Research.