The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

September 19, 2012

Susan Miller: Moonlighting back in vogue

As the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, finding a job remains a challenge for far too many Americans.  

But even among workers fortunate enough to hold jobs, some individuals are “hedging their bets” and boosting their incomes with second jobs. It seems like the concept of moonlighting is coming back into vogue.

Admittedly, the number of people holding multiple jobs is fairly low. An August 23 U.S. News and World Report article put the number of workers with more than one job at about five percent.

Interestingly, today’s moonlighters tend to be highly educated. Consider data from the U.S. Department of Labor that indicates 8 percent of women with advanced degrees hold down more than one job compared to just 4 percent of their counterparts with only a high school diploma.  

Moonlighting also reflects the role of technology in the job market. Wireless connectivity, tablets and even smart phones make it possible for people to perform a variety of jobs from virtually any location.

Technology is also playing a role in how jobs are posted, particularly those jobs that require skills suited to freelancers and contract workers.

Sites such as Elance.com and Freelancer.com post thousands of jobs and have the numbers to back up their claims of connecting employers and workers. As I write this column, the Elance.com site boasts that it has posted 72,594 jobs in the past 30 days.

Even more impressive, the site notes that nearly $608,000,000 in earnings can be attributed to the site since its inception. So much for those that argue too many jobs have been outsourced to technology.  

What kinds of jobs are posted in the ether? Online freelance job postings reflect diverse skill sets. Some of the most popular jobs include programmers, web developers, administrative assistants, writers, marketers, consultants, accountants and graphic designers.

How much do these jobs pay? According to PayScale.com, earnings can be rather robust. The site notes several lucrative part-time and self-employed opportunities along with their median hourly pay as follows:

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