Insecure employment causes increase in side-hustles

A study by the Henley Business School has revealed that 40% of UK workers run independent businesses in addition to their normal day jobs. The number of people involved in these businesses, known commonly as ‘side hustles’, is predicted to increase to half of the adult population by 2030.

Side hustles are typically micro businesses which people operate after work and at weekends. Common examples include jewellery making, freelance writing, and online tutoring. Despite their size, the research revealed that these micro-businesses generated a total of £72bn for the UK economy in 2017, equivalent to 3.6% of GDP.  It is believed that a lack of secure employment has led to this increase in side hustles and half of all employees surveyed with a secondary income admit to doing the extra work because they need the money.

The research showed that there was a lack of awareness amongst employers about this issue.  The majority of those surveyed incorrectly expected there to be no significant increase in the trend over the next five years. Additionally, half admitted they did not have a workplace policy on side-working.

According to Neema Pasha, of the Henley Business School, some organisations are said to be exacerbating the issue by “no longer offering a security that previous generations experienced”. With this in mind it is suggested that organisations could look to offer staff contracts with more guaranteed hours, where possible, or raising the salaries of national minimum wage employees to £8.75 per hour, in line with the suggested real living wage.

At the very least organisations need to consider how the rise in popularity of side hustles could impact their workforce, paying particular attention to the risk of employees effectively becoming competitors. Also, in instances where side-work amounts to additional employment it is important to consider how this will impact obligations under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

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