4 reasons why you need to think about making a second income

Thanks to technology, earning a second income doesn’t involve printing out a CV and walking around town handing it out to local shops.

Apps, and online platforms have blown the door wide open to allow people to make a second income.


According to the Office for National Statistics, around 32 million people between the ages of 16-64 are in work. This is the highest it has been since comparable records began in 1977. Of those in employment, 1.11 million officially have a second job. This is an increase of around 81,000 since 2017. Although, with the rise of ‘ghosters’, aka people who don’t declare a second income, this could be a lot more.

So why are second jobs so popular? The reasons may not be as straight forward as you think…

#1. Extra income

This is the obvious one, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Simply put, many of us are taking second jobs just to be able to feed ourselves and put a roof over our heads.

With property prices spiraling, the dream for many of getting onto the property ladder is drifting away. By 2021, around a quarter of households in the UK will be privately rented. And 68% of the renters still expected to be renting in 3 years time.

Many people see the dream of owning a home slowly slipping away as the cost of property continues to rise at a rate that far outstrips wages. In 1997, house prices were on an average of around 3.6 times a worker’s annual gross full time earnings. But in 2017, the average house price is now 7.6 times the average annual salary.

If you live in London, this is further exacerbated, with the average property price being 38.8 times greater than the average salary in some places.

But if you rent, you’re not necessarily in the clear. Figures from 3 years ago show that the average person in the UK spends 47% of their net income on rent. That becomes a whopping 72% if you live in London. And let’s just say that things haven’t improved since.

So it’s no wonder that people are trying to earn an extra income wherever possible. It’s simply out of necessity to provide the basics.

And as Christmas approaches, research shows that 1 in 10 people plan on taking a second job to pay for the festivities.


#2. Gain better experience

When we leave school or university, we tend to follow paths that were determined by our choices during our teenage years. After a few years working and building up experience, we are faced with a choice when, as an adult with a more complete view of the world, we may decide we don’t like our chosen career path.

Research shows that a huge 47% of the population are unsatisfied with their chosen career and would like to make a change.

The problem is that this would usually mean taking a step back in your career to start again. This means less pay, and well, we saw in the last section why this isn’t a desirable option. So, many people feel like they are stuck in between a rock and a hard place.

But, there is perhaps a way around it. By studying, and then taking a second job in your chosen new field in your spare time, you can build up the necessary experience, so that when you do switch careers you don’t have to start over again.

And when we say job, that can be as an employee, or as people are doing frequently, becoming part of the gig economy and taking small jobs in their chosen field in their spare time so it fits around their 9-5 job.

So, let’s say you worked in accounting, but you realised that what you really wish you had was a career as a graphic designer. You could study, and hone your skills during evenings and weekends, and when you were good enough, build a portfolio by finding clients on sites such as Upwork.

After a year or so, you have experience of working with clients, managing projects, and producing the work. This would give you much greater leverage when trying to secure a full time position with a graphic design agency.


#3. Following your passions

We’ve already established that 47% of people are unhappy in their careers. So after 10-20 years in a job that you dislike, knowing that you have to keep doing it to pay extortionate mortgage payments can no doubt become draining.

Our jobs play a massive role in our identity and how we’re perceived by ourselves and others. This can cause problems when you are making career choices as a teenager and have an incomplete view of the world. So after 10 years at work, if your interests and identity develop into something else, you can feel like Clark Kent. Playing one character during the day, and another one at night.

Many people are filling this void by following their passions and taking a second job in an area that is aligned with who they truly are.

Thanks to sites like Etsy, which is like eBay for those who are into arts and crafts, millions of people are following their passion, and connecting to their creative sides. Work they produce is then sold in their own shop to people around the world.

For many people, a second job doesn’t necessarily have to be a money earning pursuit. For example, you may have a passion for animals, and your second job is volunteering for an animal shelter at weekends.


#4. Lower the risk of primary job loss

The world is set to change beyond all recognition over the coming 10 years thanks to advancements in technology. These changes are expected to affect the job market in a big way.

The largest threat is automation. We are already seeing it creeping into our everyday lives, but it is expected that it will be even more prevalent in the coming years. Driverless cars are on the way and Amazon are already introducing automated supermarkets in the US.

Infact, there are websites where you can discover the probability of your job being ‘replaced by a robot’. To combat these threats, forward thinking countries like Finland are already experimenting with ideas such as a basic universal income for it’s citizens. This is where the nation’s population receives a wage regardless of whether they have a job or not.

Because the future is so uncertain, many people are taking second jobs to limit the risk of losing their current job. It is thought that situations that arise from automation and the possible introduction of a universal basic income will particularly benefit those with an entrepreneurial mind. This is because a lot of basic tasks will be automated, allowing humans to do something that computers will struggle to – think creatively.

So now is a better time than ever to improve your entrepreneurial skills and earn a second income in your spare time. Should automation change things – as is expected – you’ll be in a much better position to thrive in this new world.

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