Younger workers turn to side hustles to stay afloat

Half of Gen Z and Millennial workforces say they live paycheque to paycheque, and many had to take on a second job due to financial concerns.

Younger workers are still concerned about the future as financial concerns sit top of mind, according to the latest annual survey report from Deloitte. Many Millennial and Generation Z (Gen Z) employees feel unable to plan financially, leaving them feeling pessimistic about the future.

Deloitte's 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that workers are trying to relieve financial pressures by taking side jobs, the report says, on the rise from last year's survey. Many respondents also say they are postponing big life decisions and adopting new behaviours to save money.

According to the survey report, more than half of Gen Zers (51%) and Millennials (52%) say they live paycheque to paycheque (up 5 percentage points amongst both generations since 2022).

Deloitte connected with 14,483 Gen Zers and 8,373 Millennials across 44 countries for this year's survey.

Social media for profit

As more younger workers struggle to stretch pay in an inflationary environment, many are looking to side hustles for extra pay, and social media platforms are leveraged as a source of income for both groups, the report says.

Dissatisfaction with pay continues to drive those employees to look for other jobs, as 46% of Gen Zers (up 3 percentage points since last year) and 37% of Millennials (up 4 percentage points) have taken on either a part- or full-time paying job in addition to their primary job.

The most common side jobs include selling products and services, engaging in gig work like food delivery or ride-sharing apps, pursuing artistic ambitions, and being social media influencers.

"Money is the top driver for taking on a side job," the report says. "But, for some, they are also a way to monetise their hobbies, shift focus, and expand their networks."

Pessimism fuelled by economic hardship

This year's study found that about one-third of Gen Zers and Millennials in full- or part-time work reported that they are very satisfied with their work/life balance, compared to only one in five in 2019, but many now worry flexibility comes with a cost.

Hybrid and remote workers say that working from home saves money, but some surveyed expressed concerns that working further away limits opportunities for career progression, the report says. Moving to part-time work, for many, is no longer financially feasible, and some are concerned that reducing hours would hurt their chances for a promotion.

Overall, Gen Zers' and Millennials' financial strains have fuelled pessimism about the future, according to the report:

  • 56% of Gen Zers and 55% of Millennials think it will become harder or impossible to ask for a raise. This is especially the case for women (59% for women versus 52% for men across both generations).
  • 52% of Gen Zers and 51% of Millennials think it will become harder or impossible to get a new job.
  • 50% of Gen Zers and 49% of Millennials think it will become harder or impossible to get a promotion.
  • 50% of Gen Zers and 47% of Millennials expect starting a family to become harder or impossible.
  • 61% of Gen Zers and 62% of Millennials think buying a house will become harder or impossible.

"Despite deep financial concerns, the majority are hesitant to speak with their employers about raises or promotions," the report said. "Employers risk losing talent if their employees don't feel comfortable coming to them first to discuss financial concerns, raises, or promotions."

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