Almost half of Gen Zs have side jobs as money fears take over, survey finds

Gen Zs and millennials are increasingly taking on second jobs as money concerns mount, a Deloitte survey says.
Carlina Teteris | Getty Images

Side hustles can be a way for people to do work they truly enjoy — but they can also be born out of necessity, with a growing number of young people taking on second jobs as money concerns mount.

Some 46% of Gen Zs currently have either a full- or part-time job in addition to their main one, a new Deloitte survey shows. The figure is only slightly lower for millennials, at 37%.

For their 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, Deloitte gathered responses from 14,483 Gen Zs and 8,373 millennials from 44 countries around the world.

In both generations, more people have second jobs now than a year ago: the figure is 3% higher among Gen Z and 4% higher among millennials, according to the consultancy firm.

"Side jobs are on the rise for Gen Zs and Millennials as they struggle to make ends meet," Michele Parmelee, global people and purpose leader at Deloitte, told CNBC Make It.

Some of the most popular second jobs are selling products or services online, working gig economy jobs like food-delivery or ride-hailing, artistic outlets or creating social media content as an influencer.

"While money is the top reason for having a side job, respondents also see it as a way to monetize their hobbies, unplug from their primary job, expand their networks, and in some cases, develop skills for a new career path," Parmelee said.

Some 25% of Gen Zs and 28% of millennials say the main motivation for their side job is to gain skills and build relationships, with just under a quarter of each generation saying it is linked to their hobbies or helps them switch off.

Money concerns, however, top all of these by far: 38% of Gen Z and 46% of millennials said the reason they worked another job was linked to their finances.

Data from Deloitte's survey shows that the cost of living is the biggest concern for millennials and Gen Z right now. This is especially pertinent as just over half of each generation say they live pay-check-to-pay-check — 5% more than a year ago.

It comes as inflation remains stubbornly high across many major economies. Prices rose by 4.9% on an annual basis in the U.S. in April, while in the U.K., prices were up 10.1%.

Having a second job is one way young people are trying to mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, but survey respondents also said they were waiting longer to get onto the property ladder or start a family and were buying more secondhand items, the survey found.

"These generations are burdened with financial insecurity," Parmelee said. "Economic concerns are hampering Gen Zs' and millennials' ability to plan for their future, and causing them to postpone major life decisions," she adds.

Despite these concerns, however, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel, with 44% of Gen Z and 35% of millennials optimistic that their financial situation will improve soon.