An exploratory study, investigating the impacts zero-hour contracts have on the academic population within the higher education sector in Scotland
The primary aim of this research is to undertake a critical investigation on the use of zerohour contracts within a Scottish higher education institution by exploring the impact zerohour contracts have on academic employees and students. This study will explore the use of zero-hour contracts from a management perspective and identify the reasons they are used. It will also look to understand the impacts zero-hour contracts have on academic employees and to conclude, will evaluate the outcome zero-hour contracts have on the students learning experience. The traditional casualisation of these contracts forms the focus for the research due to a general shortage of literature surrounding zero-hour contracts in the higher education sector. Furthermore, accessing a sizable population of academic employees who are employed on a zero-hour contract may have proved difficult. The research relies on qualitative, semi-structured interviews as the instrument for data collection in which organisational employees were questioned on the impacts zero-hour contracts have on academic employees and students. All participants in this study were employed in the chosen higher education institution and there was an equal mix of full-time and part-time employees, as a review of the literature on zero-hour contracts revealed that employees were the key resource for this research study (Brinkley 2013). The significant findings of the research revealed that the institution in question has zerohour contracts under a family of part-time work, of which the employees studied had varying levels of awareness. Furthermore, all participants within the study identified negative impacts zero-hour contracts have on all stakeholders, and all participants also recognised why such contracts can in opposition, be beneficial within the higher education sector.