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In recent years, a growing number of Australians have taken on a second job. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, before COVID the number of workers with multiple jobs was fairly steady between 5-6 per cent, but has remained above that level since December 2021. With the numbers currently sitting at around 6.7 per cent of all workers.

Second Job Surge

As reported in The Guardian, “almost one in three Australians want to take on extra work in 2024, according to the financial comparison site Finder.” What is behind the recent uptick in second job?

Financial Pressures. Economic factors, including the rising cost of living and stagnant wage growth, have undoubtedly contributed to this trend. With expenses soaring and wages failing to keep pace, many Australians find themselves struggling to make ends meet. A second job offers a practical solution to supplement income and alleviate financial strain.

Pursuit of Passion. Beyond financial incentives, the allure of pursuing personal passions or hobbies for profit has fuelled the popularity of second jobs. Whether it’s freelance writing, photography, or tutoring, many workers are seeking fulfilment outside their 9-to-5 grind.

Career Development. In an increasingly competitive job market, acquiring new skills and experiences is paramount for career advancement. Second jobs may provide opportunities for professional growth, allowing individuals to explore different industries or roles.

Should Australians be asking their bosses for a pay rise instead? 

Candidates often share with us that they are looking for part-time work in addition to their existing full-time job. In many cases it hadn’t occurred to them to simply ask for a pay rise with their current employer before looking for additional work. 

Many people find these chats uncomfortable, but the truth is that the conversation is almost never as difficult as you think it’s going to be. Also, your employer may be totally oblivious to the fact that your financial necessities aren’t being met. If they knew you were considering taking up a second job, they might be far more amenable to discussing a pay rise than you had anticipated – especially if you are struggling.

Second jobs can create issues you might not have considered

While taking on a second job may offer immediate financial relief, it’s not without it’s pitfalls.

Conflict of interest. If you decide to look for a second job in the industry you already work in for your primary job, this might actually be a conflict of interest. It could subsequently create problems for you with both employers – particularly if the two companies are in competition. It’s important to always check your contract with your existing employer before you attempt to do other additional work. There might be a clause in there that rules it out completely.

Time vs. Money. Balancing multiple jobs can be taxing, both physically and mentally. The time and energy invested in a second job could instead be allocated towards up-skilling, networking, or simply enjoying leisure time with loved ones. Negotiating a pay rise acknowledges the value of one’s contributions and time, potentially leading to a better work-life balance.

Tips for having a salary discussion with your boss

If you decide to talk to your boss about your salary, be sure to come prepared with a list of positive things you’ve contributed to the business. Also, make sure you’ve benchmarked yourself against other similar roles by checking jobs platforms. Information and data are powerful for these sorts of conversations. Be succinct and don’t waffle. Ask yourself when prepping – “does this information help my case or is it irrelevant?”

Be honest about your personal position. Tell your boss that you’ve been looking into getting a second job to supplement your income. This will illustrate how important an increase is to you.

The decision to pursue a second job or negotiate a pay rise is a personal one, influenced by individual circumstances and aspirations. While a second job offers immediate financial relief and diverse opportunities, it comes with its own set of challenges and trade-offs. Conversely, advocating for a pay rise acknowledges one’s worth and fosters a mutually beneficial relationship with employers.