In a recent report by the BBC, London was voted the world’s best city for students – with the youth employment market being one of the reasons. Whereas this research may allude to positive changes in comparison to previous statistics, the report fails to highlight the large number of zero hour contracts used by retailers and larger businesses.
Recent statistics show that a whopping 18% of people on “zero-hours contracts” are in full-time education, in comparison to 3% of people who are not studying. When you consider that zero-hour contracts rose by 100,000 last year, and are set to rise once again, we must question whether this method is a reliable source of income for students – many of whom are becoming crippled by the financial insecurity of being an independent student.
Student research at London South Bank University has found that the large majority of students refer to the high living costs of the capital when asked why they found it necessary to work.
Hadrian Fletcher, a London-based student who works a zero hour contract at a top London nightclub, told us how the scheme has opened up opportunities for him whilst simultaneously not providing a stable source of income.
Whilst we must highlight the negative impacts, we also have to remember that students are providing for themselves and themselves only, and that a flexible zero-hour contract is not an option that should be overlooked. Students living a larger distance from their usual home may struggle to hold down a normal job. As well as this, shifts can be increased or decreased at the worker’s will. This will enable students to do less work during a busy period such as exam season.
Whilst zero-hour contracts get the brunt of the bad press, they still require companies to abide to basic worker’s rights. If this is something you or a friend are looking into, make sure you are familiar with the boundaries.