Are Employees With a Side Hustle Better at Their Jobs?

Ladan Nikravan Hayes

Shouldn’t leaders expect their employees to be so committed to their work that they couldn’t conceive of moonlighting elsewhere? Turns out, no. According to new CareerBuilder research, nearly a third of workers (32 percent) have side gigs — this compares to 29 percent last year. And more women than men have side hustles — 35 percent vs. 28 percent.

While having a side gig is popular across demographics, it’s more popular for some. Broken down by age, those under 35 are more likely to have a side hustle (41 percent) versus those over 35 (27 percent). By race/ethnicity, African American workers (46 percent) and Hispanic workers (40 percent) are more likely than White (29 percent) and Asian (26 percent) workers to have a side hustle.

And it’s not limited to income. One in 4 workers making more than $75k (25 percent) and 19 percent of those making more than $100k currently have a gig outside of their full time job. This is compared to 35 percent of workers making below $50k and 36 percent earning below $35k.

Are My Employees Going to Leave?

Those with side hustles aren’t looking to leave their traditional jobs. Sixty-seven percent of workers with a side hustle do not want to turn their side gig into their day job and 71 percent of all workers don’t plan to own their own business in the future. When asked if they’re more passionate about their day job or side hustle, more said their day job (42 percent) than their side hustle (32 percent) or neither (25 percent).

So why are they doing it? Some workers may be taking on side hustles to help overcome the day-to-day drag of their day jobs. More than eight in 10 workers (82 percent) say they are not in their dream jobs, and 42 percent say they don’t think they ever will be. A third of workers who are not in their dream job (33 percent) have a side hustle.

What Does This Mean For You?

Having an employee who has a job on the side can be an asset to the company. Consider these three reasons:

An entrepreneurial spirit can boost your business: Self-starting, innovative and proactive workers help a company to thrive. Given that side hustlers often experience challenges of running their own business, they are problem-solvers and a real asset to any type of business in any industry.

Employees with a side hustle show initiative: It benefits employees and their employers when they take the time to hone their skills post 5 p.m. Who’s the more valuable worker: the one who goes home and watches TV all night, or the one who puts their mind to relevant use? 

Learn basic business skills: One overlooked aspect in many companies is employees who understand the big-picture fundamentals of the business. Running a side hustle gives employees a firsthand look at managing sales, profit margins, cash flows and customer service.

Check out the latest salary trends to make sure you stay competitive – and attract high-quality candidates. 

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