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:
- Attorney: $147.40
- Clinical psychologist: $135.40
- Senior software engineer: $75.00
- Certified financial planner: $61.40
- Private detective/investigator: $49.60
Of course, prospective employees must remember that contract jobs typically do not offer many of the benefits associated with full-time employment. Perks like vacation and insurance typically don’t exist in the contract and freelance community. Less obvious drawbacks may include a sense of isolation and the need to purchase office supplies.
Nevertheless, second jobs can function as supplemental earnings insurance and with the holidays coming up, they can provide a boost to the shopping coffers.
For those who prefer to source second jobs in the non-digital marketplace, data reported this month by Bloomberg/BusinessWeek is inspiring. Thirty-six percent of retailers polled said they plan to hire more seasonal workers than last year, according to a Hay Group poll. That compares with 10 percent of retailers in the same poll conducted last year.
This weekend ushers in the start of fall. Seize the moment and see if moonlighting makes your budget a bit brighter.
Susan Miller is founder of Ewing Miller Communications. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.