Tag: side hustle

Side hustles are a priority for the next generation

According to new data by business finance lender, Sonovate, flexible work culture is a key consideration for most young workers when choosing a job, with over half (53%) of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming that talented young people won’t join companies that don’t champion flexible working.

The data also suggested that portfolio careers will become increasingly popular among younger workers in the next decade with 59% of 18 to 34-year-olds agreeing and 54% of the same age demographic saying that having a portfolio career will be important to them at some stage in their career.

The majority (57%) of young respondents don’t believe they need to be in an office full time to learn what they need, and feel they are well equipped to do it all virtually. The survey indicates that young workers see the benefits of freelance work, giving them the flexibility to experiment with different career routes (57%) and to have a family or pursue their interests (50%).

Over a third (36%) of 18 to 34-year-olds have made a career change in order to work more flexibly during the pandemic and the report suggested that the pandemic prompted a shift in attitudes towards jobs among the younger working generation with 44% of 18 to 34-year-olds claiming they don’t want to work the way they did before the pandemic. This is why and over half (54%) of this demographic feel that a shift towards more freelance working is a good thing for graduates, school leavers and new entrants into the world of work.

Richard Prime, co-founder and co-CEO at Sonovate commented: “As the pandemic caused a significant proportion of the UK’s younger employees to lose jobs or go on furlough, young workers had more time than ever to consider what they want from their careers. Younger people’s preferences toward portfolio careers and multiple side-gigs are rooted in a desire for a better work/life balance and to make an income from what they are passionate about. Now, these preferences are being heard more loudly than ever, with people and companies learning to juggle accordingly.”

Lotanna Ezeike, founder and CEO at XPO, a platform that helps social media influencers get paid on time, also weighed in: “For young people today, the concept of what a ‘career’ should look like is a lot more malleable than for any past generation. A central priority for many is finding flexibility. But the idea of working on a contract or freelance basis isn’t, to them, just about being flexible to work less or hang out more. Instead, a more contract or part-time work life supports their desire for greater ownership over what they do and how they spend their working lives. Many creators and influencers want to work but it’s important to them to ‘own’ their time and retain their freedom to choose how they spend it doing things they love.”

Managing Director of TALiNT Partners, Ken Brotherston has been outspoken when it comes to the notion of the side hustle. He commented: “While the scenario of a portfolio of work holds true for a certain percentage of the working population, this isn’t so for large part of it. There is a significant portion of the workforce who aren’t influencers and need the certainty of a permanent job, as well as the need to supplement their income to pay bills. This scenario isn’t choosing a portfolio of work because it’s cool and flexible, they do it out of necessity.”

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A new hip and happening ‘thing’ that employers are encouraged to allow their staff time to pursue, the side hustle, should be neither cool nor celebrated as it’s indicative of employers not willing to pay enough for much-needed talent.
As we, sooner or later, look at an economy beyond the pandemic (with hopefully the Omicron variant being just a hiccup) there is one aspect of how a lot of people work that has crept up on us over the years and has generally been accepted as not a bad thing –  the side hustle. But for some time now I’ve been concerned that this cool-sounding, funky term actually disguises something much more invidious and that is a reliance of too many people to need more than one job; and an unwillingness of employers to pay a proper wage.

 

From what I can see, side hustles fall into different categories: doing something you enjoy in your spare time that may or may not make a little money (often traditionally known as a ‘hobby’) is one. Alternatively, it may be a more serious undertaking: one of my senior colleagues here at TALiNT Partners is a trained counsellor and does important work with her clients outside of her work with us from which she gets a great deal of fulfilment. Calling this a side hustle, whilst technically accurate, feels disrespectful and a bit demeaning.

There are jobs done by students whilst studying or during the summer holiday. Back in my day these were mainly referred to as, er, student jobs! I do have a friend whose daughter continues to offer tutoring to students while she studies to qualify as a lawyer. To be fair, that’s a great example of a ‘side-hustle’ although I’m pretty sure once she qualifies as a lawyer and has her 2,000 billable hours to hit, it will almost certainly fall by the wayside.

Renting your spare room used to be called ‘having a lodger’ now it’s having a side hustle through Airbnb. I’m not sure I see much of a difference.

But by far most of the people who seem to have a side hustle – Uber drivers, Deliveroo riders, cleaners – are people who are generating income to pay rent, buy food and generally do the things they need to and there’s nothing ‘side’ about it; it is income that is central to their ability to get by.

A 2019 survey from CV Library suggested that 60% of people who had a ‘side hustle’ were doing it to supplement their basic income and it’s likely that COVID-19 will have made this worse rather than better.

The government announcement of the rise of the national living wage will undoubtedly make a difference, but I can’t help but think that de-glamourising this notion of a side-hustle and calling it what it is for most people and that it’s an essential element of their income – will also help.

So, for most people, a side hustle isn’t optional, and it certainly isn’t cool. And as we look across the economy at sectors desperate for staff – the care sector, hospitality, driving and warehouse staff to name a few, I can’t help but think that those employers who pay enough to have 100% of the work effort from their people, especially those who have shown the commitment, drive and often ingenuity to hold down more than one job will reap enormous benefits. That would be a nice result all round.

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