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The world of work is changing rapidly, and so are the expectations and needs of the workforce.

In the face of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the UK, exploring alternative employment models has become popular as the workforce tries to combat financial pressures.

One such model gaining recent attention is poly-employment, where individuals engage in multiple jobs simultaneously. This approach offers several benefits that can significantly alleviate financial pressures for professionals.

What is poly-employment?

Poly-employment is a term that refers to the rising phenomenon of workers holding multiple jobs with different employers, often in response to rising cost pressures and the need for flexibility in their lives.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, more than 1.2 million British workers hold two or more jobs. Most interestingly, findings from data report ‘The Big Shift: Navigating the Future of Work in the UK’ revealed that Baby Boomers (over-60s) are most likely to be working multiple jobs, followed by Generation X (aged 44-59).

Balancing multiple jobs does have its implications for the future of work, as it reflects changing work attitudes, the impact that AI is having on job roles, mental health challenges associated with rising costs, and the general demand across the workforce for flexible work arrangements.

The stigma around working more than one job is slowly decreasing. In the past, workers have felt the need to hide their secret side jobs, however, it is much more common – and acceptable – for professionals to openly share with their employers that they do consulting, freelance work, or a ‘side hustle’, at the same time.

The benefits of poly-employment

Before jumping into a second or even third job role, it’s important to fully understand the impact an increased workload or multiple jobs can have on your life. We know that the motive is often financial, but what other benefits does poly-employment give beyond a second pay check?

Diversify income streams

Having more than one job provides extra sources of income, creating greater security in times of economic uncertainty. By engaging in multiple roles, individuals can create a safety net, ensuring a more stable and resilient financial situation.

For example, if you lose your primary job, you still have another to fall back on while searching for a new position. It’s worth noting that multiple jobs can lead to burnout, so make sure both (or all) roles can be managed and maintained.

Skill development and career growth

Juggling various roles provides ample opportunities for developing new skills and enhancing your career. Poly-employed individuals often acquire a diverse skill set, making them more adaptable when changes to the job market arise. This not only enhances employability, but also opens doors to new and challenging opportunities in a variety of sectors and industries – acting as a significant asset.

At the same time, this enhanced skill set has the potential to make you a more attractive candidate for promotions and new job opportunities further down the line. Employers will often value individuals who demonstrate a strong work ethic, as well as the ability to handle multiple projects.

Flexible work arrangements

According to our snap survey of 5,000 UK workers, one of the main benefits that workers desire is flexi time, which can be used to handle multiple roles.

This flexibility allows individuals to tailor their schedules to fit their lifestyle, enabling better work-life balance. There may be the option to choose when, where, and how much you work with the second job – helping you to balance your work and personal commitments, such as pursuing outside interests, hobbies, or volunteering, which can be key to reducing stress and burnout.

Adaptability in the gig economy

The gig economy is still pertinent in the UK, and poly-employment aligns well with the principles of working independently. Embracing multiple roles allows individuals to tap into various gig opportunities, such as being a consultant, courier, or freelance digital creator, or taking advantage of short-term projects or freelance work, which in turn, contributes to a more dynamic and agile workforce.

Being an independent contractor does have its drawbacks, including far less job security and fewer benefit entitlements, but as far as secondary jobs are concerned, it can create a sense of fulfilment and allow you to contribute to different causes.

Poly-employment has emerged as a viable solution for employees grappling with the cost-of-living crisis. It’s by no means for everyone, but for those who are really feeling the pinch, working multiple jobs can enhance financial resilience while helping both professional and personal growth.

As workforce management expert, Jon Wilson, astutely pointed out: “Understanding and preparing for the future of work in the UK is increasingly crucial for building a resilient, inclusive, and innovative labour market.”

If you're looking for a new (or second) job opportunity, contact your nearest Reed office today to discover how we can help.