Nearly two-thirds of Brits with a second job feel ‘forced’ to seek extra work

19 Jun 2019 By Lauren Brown

Research finds most would give up ‘side hustle’ if their primary occupation paid more, as figures show rocketing number of UK ‘working poor’

The majority of workers with second jobs are doing so because sluggish pay growth has forced them to find ways to top up their monthly income, a survey has found, resulting in calls for organisations to make sure employees don’t feel they have to pick up a “side hustle”.

In a poll of 1,200 full-time UK employees, conducted by CV-Library, more than one in 10 (16 per cent) admitted to taking on jobs on the side. Of these, 60 per cent felt they had to work more due to the salary of their primary job being insufficient.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said the findings show that rather than taking up a side job for fun, the majority were being forced to find other ways to top up their monthly income.

He added the decline in the quality of jobs on offer meant employee wellbeing was often being put at risk.

“Employees could be putting themselves in serious danger of burnout. It’s tough enough at times to get through a full working week, let alone while working two jobs,” said 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 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.” 

He advised rather than trying to “scrimp and save on salaries”, employers should ensure their offerings were in line with the market rate, and said employers who did this would find employees were more loyal and willing to dedicate themselves to the job at hand.

The survey comes as new research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) revealed Britain has seen a dramatic rise in the number of working poor since the 1990s. The IFS found that between 1994 and 2017, the share of poverty accounted for by working households jumped from 37 per cent to 58 per cent.

According to the think tank, stagnating pay growth and higher rents were the reason 8 million working households were now in poverty. 

Xiaowei Xu, research economist at the IFS and author of the research, said: “Higher employment rates of people who are likely to have low earnings, such as lone parents, are a positive trend, even though this pushes up in-work poverty figures.

“However, higher inequality in earnings for working households, and considerably higher growth in housing costs for poor households, have been key reasons for higher in-work poverty.”

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