As inflation creeps up in the US, more adults are turning to side hustles to make extra money — whether they’re already in high-paying jobs or not.
New data from online lending marketplace LendingTree shows that 44% of Americans now have an extra income, up 13% from two years ago.
The majority of the part-time workforce is Gen Z, followed by Millennials and then Gen Xers.
Additionally, many families couldn’t make ends meet without side hustles, with 71% saying they couldn’t pay all their bills without the extra income.
It’s not just people at risk: 54% of respondents say they have at least one child under the age of 18.
Unfortunately, the news comes as no surprise to LendingTree’s chief credit analyst Matt Schulz, who said the pandemic has “encouraged” many people to try side hustles, but the economic headwinds of 2023 are also now giving people a need to raise more money to earn.
“Most of the time, everything has gotten more expensive, and that erodes people’s financial leeway to make mistakes. It’s especially troubling when the cost of the most basic expenses goes up, because it’s not like you can cancel your electric bill or stop buying groceries like you can with a Netflix subscription,” he said.
The average side job brings in about $473 a month — $5,700 a year — from jobs including reselling items on sites like Amazon or eBay, day trading, tutoring, or freelance work online.
How much you can earn also depends on experience, with average earnings from side jobs showing a correlation to a person’s main income.
People earning between $35,000 and $49,999 make about $410 a month from their side jobs — about 10% of their main income.
Those who bring in between $50,000 and $74,999 make $487 a month, and people whose salary ranges from $75,000 to $99,999 can earn 7% on top of their earnings — about $555 a month .
The survey even spoke to people who are already making more than six figures and bring in an average of $638 extra per month from their part-time jobs.
What are the most in-demand side hustles?
Freelancer.com — a website that posts freelance work in everything from ghostwriting romance to software development — viewed 372,000 of their posts from October to December 2022.
It found that programming, report writing, and research-related roles were among the top-ranked categories.
The trend is being driven by companies wanting to get their year-end reports on the line and therefore outsourcing high-volume tasks to freelancers. Report writing job requests increased 59.5% from 3,374 to 5,384 during the quarter.
Also popular are candidates with Matlab and Mathematica training — two separate programs used by engineers to analyze data.
Research jobs and research writing jobs were the third and fifth most searched skills, with growth of 36.3% and 32.1%, respectively.
The search for tech skills is a result of widespread tech layoffs, said Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com.
He added: “Mass layoffs are causing ripple effects as companies scramble to fill skills gaps in their organisations. We see this in waves. As the tech giants lay off staff, we see employers leaning on freelancers for support with tech-related skills.
“In 2023, we can expect stronger demand for tech-related skills as layoffs continue and employers look to hire on-demand freelancers.”
Although crypto and NFT related hustle and bustle saw a spike in 2022, demand for these skills has now fallen sharply as the sector went from being the fastest growing in terms of newly added projects to being the fastest declining.
Which side hustles pay the most?
According to job site Flexjobs, part-time work on a variable basis can pay up to $133 an hour.
Among the top sectors recommended by the platform is product management, which is the management of an item or service from conception to production. It averages about $62 an hour.
Project managers tasked with keeping track of budgets and performance and coordinating meetings can also charge an average of $66 an hour.
The real money, however, lies in more niche side hustles.
Psychiatrists can charge around $133 an hour, and corporate lawyers can rake in $63 an hour.
Meanwhile, freelancers’ most in-demand roles come with six-figure remote salaries, should part-timers choose to keep their part-time jobs permanent.
Software developers working from home can expect to make around $70,000 in their early career. This typically increases to around $120,000 by the time they hit mid-career.
Freelance platform Upwork also highlighted that programmers in a variety of languages can expect to make $60-$70 an hour for an annual salary of around $120,000.
Your mobile and web development peers can expect to earn $100,000 and $90,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, business analysts with qualifications in computer science, management information systems, or computer engineering can expect to take home nearly $130,000 by mid-career. They start with a slightly lower salary averaging $53,000.
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