Above view of man’s hands tapping away on a laptop, concept of a side hustle.
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Almost half of workers have a side hustle, research says

31 Jan 2019

Do you have a side hustle? If so, you have something in common with 46pc of US people surveyed by Udemy.

The side hustle – in other words, having a business or form of income outside of your full-time job – has risen in popularity of late, and increasing fears about automation could be playing a role.

Udemy conducted research into awareness of and attitudes towards the skills gap in 2018 and found, among other things, that almost half (46pc) of US employees have some form of side hustle.

The report demonstrates clearly that there is a sharp awareness among the working population about the seismic shift the labour market is experiencing. Most US workers (84pc) believe that there is a skills gap, with 39pc stating that they already feel personally affected by this gap. More than four out of 10 (43pc) stated that they think AI or automation will be able to do their job within the next five years.

Udemy sorts employees into three categories based on how they are responding to the wave of change that most see approaching. It files those who have picked up a side hustle as “the motivated”. These people are ones who, according to Udemy, don’t necessarily see changes in the economy as positive but have responded in a proactive way by upskilling and picking up side hustles.

“I love the prevalence of side hustles and view them as an opportunity for people to pursue passions, try new things and develop new skills,” commented Shelley Osborne, head of learning and development at Udemy.

Osborne continued: “Our research found a 7pc increase from last year in people who have a side hustle or a second job, or are thinking of taking one on. Interestingly enough, [there was a] 9pc increase in those doing it for extra income, as opposed to filling spare time or pursuing a hobby.

“Even if the motivation is financial, people with side hustles are also more aware of the changing job market and are certainly shoring up their resources in preparation.”

Osborne maintains that the changes the world economy is undergoing are part of the ebb and flow that has coloured the history of work for years. “We’ve experienced these shifts before in how we work and as humans; we will continuously evolve and improve upon the way we work and contribute. Moving forward hinges on the importance of learning new things and having confidence in our ability to do so.”

Men more affected

In an interesting twist, the research from Udemy found that on balance, men are more likely to say they feel impacted by AI and automation than women, something which Osborne traces back to the type of roles men typically inhabit.

“According to data analysed by the Brookings think tank, jobs traditionally held by men have a higher ‘average automation potential’ than those held by women … Occupations men are more likely to hold tend to be more manual and more easily replaced by machines and artificial intelligence.”

It may explain why men, when asked whether they had a side hustle, were more likely (52pc) to say yes than women (41pc). Those within the 18 to 37 age bracket were most likely (58pc) to say they had a side hustle, followed by people of colour (53pc).

You can view the full report here.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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