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Employees turning to side hustles to make ends meet

Employees are taking up side hustles to earn more money rather than out of enjoyment, according to research from CV-Library

The survey of 1,200 employees found that more than half (59%) of UK workers who have a side hustle do so because they want to earn more money, while two-thirds (67%) said they would consider giving it up if their employer paid them more money.

Other reasons for taking up a side hustle were for fun (14%), to improve a hobby (10%), for added job security (9%) and to start a new career (6%).

Despite more than a quarter of employers (28%) having a policy on working elsewhere, a third (30.4%) of UK employees work an extra 10 hours a week on their side hustle, the survey found.

Previous research from CV-Library found that more than half (55%) of workers struggle financially towards the end of each month.

Lee Biggins, CEO of CV-Library, said that the quality of jobs in the UK appears to be falling. “What’s worrying about so many Brits struggling for cash is that while Britain is almost at full employment the quality of jobs on offer is dropping. Rather than trying to scrimp and save on salaries ensure that your offerings are in line with the market rate. You’ll find employees are more loyal and willing to dedicate themselves to the job at hand,” he said.

Employers must regulate work outside of a main job to prevent burnout, added Biggins: “Policies on working on the side are in place for a reason. Working so many extra hours is bound to distract anyone from their main job. As an employer you need to make sure that your employees don’t feel like they have to pick up a side hustle. Put regular meetings in place to review their salary and give them the chance to voice any concerns before escalating the matter.”

Speaking to HR magazine, associate director of advisory at Peninsula Kate Palmer also urged employers to look at ways to avoid burnout.

"While the flexibility on offer by many businesses enables staff more free time to work on their own projects outside of work, those who do this out of necessity may run the risk of burnout. With this in mind employers should think of ways to utilise their employees’ sense of drive to benefit their own organisation, and reduce the need for them to try and make additional money elsewhere," she said.

Palmer added that pay structures for those with side hustles should also be examined. "Regular pay reviews should ensure salaries remain competitive and reduce the financial burden on employees, while avoiding unnecessary zero-hours contracts is likely to improve individuals’ financial security,” she said.

"It may also be beneficial to explore the potential for paid overtime at work, especially during times of peak business, as this will offer staff another avenue to receive additional money while also having a positive impact on employers’ ability to meet customer demand.”

The CV-Library research also found that a third (33.2%) of Brits plan to eventually make their side hustle a full-time role. This figure rose to 34.8% among women.

Other research confirms that the number of employees starting their own business outside of work has increased significantly in recent years, with research from Henley Business School showing that 40% of UK workers now have a side hustle.

Palmer added that side hustles are not always a sign that workers are struggling: "This isn’t to say that all side hustles are a cry for help; many employees will still participate in these as part of a hobby. However, employers who offer competitive salaries, including additional benefits such as enhanced sick pay and family-friendly leave, are less likely to experience falling productivity rates, which are often a result of staff burning the candle at both ends."