Nearly a quarter of people in Bath and North East Somerset work in severely insecure jobs, new analysis reveals.
The Work Foundation at Lancaster University has found one in five of those in employment in England are in unstable jobs.
They called on the Government to introduce an Employment Bill in the next parliament that “puts job quality and security at the heart of labour market regulation”.
The figures show 23% of workers in Bath and North East Somerset were in severely insecure jobs – a higher rate than the average of 19.9% in the West of England Combined Authority area.
‘Insecure work’ is defined by the think tank as employment that is involuntarily temporary or part-time, or when multiple forms of insecurity come together, such as casual or zero-hours contracts, or low or unpredictable pay. The analysis is based on the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey 2021-22.
Rebecca Florisson, principal analyst at the Work Foundation, said: “Being trapped in insecure work isn’t just about poor pay.
“Research shows those in insecure work also experience worse health, living standards and future job prospects so it is an issue that affects all aspects of life.”
She added: “Communities across the country are already struggling with the lack of secure, good quality jobs in their areas, which means that the Government's focus on getting people into 'any' job is both unhelpful and harmful.”
The analysis suggests just 42.7% of Bath and North East Somerset workers were in secure employment and a further 34.4% had a moderately or low insecure job.
The think tank also found variation in the levels of severely insecure work amongst different worker groups.
In the West of England Combined Authority area, a higher proportion of female workers (26.7%) were in unstable employment than male workers (13.4%).
Those from ethnic minorities also suffered greater inequality, with 24.2% having jobs considered severely insecure, while 19.6% of white workers did.
Ben Harrison, director of the Work Foundation, said: “We know that those who face wider structural disadvantage in the labour market are more likely to find themselves in these kinds of jobs.
“Women, those with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are often particularly at risk, leaving these worker groups even more vulnerable to the cost-of-living crisis.”
He added: “The reality is, people in severely insecure work are paying the price of Government’s failure to strengthen employment rights and protections during this Parliament, and this failure is also holding back wider levelling up ambitions.”
The Work Foundation said insecure jobs tend to be concentrated in sectors such as hospitality, social care and administrative services, but they found job security within these sectors also differed wildly across the country.
Overall, in the West of England Combined Authority area 50.6% of those working in accommodation and food services were in insecure work, while 21% of health and social care workers and 28.1% of administration and support workers were.
A Government spokesperson said: “Zero hours contracts are an important part of the UK’s flexible labour market helping people balance work around other commitments, and the government has consistently acted to ensure employees are protected in these roles.
“Numbers in temporary work due to an inability to find permanent roles are down almost 200,000 since 2010.
“Our In-Work Progression Offer for people on Universal Credit means over one million low-income earners can tap into additional support to help secure promotions and boost their finances.”