2023 HR Trends: Side Jobs

The article discusses the growing trend of side jobs among Gen Z and millennials for extra income and the pursuit of personal passions.
Daan van Rossum
Daan van Rossum
Founder & CEO, FlexOS
I founded FlexOS because I believe in a happier future of work. I write and host "Future Work," I'm a 2024 LinkedIn Top Voice, and was featured in the NYT, HBR, Economist, CNBC, Insider, and FastCo.
December 14, 2022
min read

It is now December, and as the year ends, I believe it is always a good practice to reflect on things that happened during the year, learn from them, and envision what’s coming next.

As I was scrolling through LinkedIn’s 10 Big Ideas for 2023, something stood out, and I’ll use this newsletter to add my take on the topic.

Big Trend for 2023: Side Jobs.

As The New York Times reported, the gig economy has boomed over the past year, with more and more entrepreneurial Gen Zers taking on a side hustle.

A survey by Deloitte shared by The Business Times reveals that a staggering half of all Gen Zs and just over one-third of millennials work a second part- or even full-time job.

The main reason? Money. But passion can’t be overlooked, either.

Per Paul Graham’s famous essay that I shared in my piece “Employee Engagement is a Shared Mission,” it is essential to do what you love so that you can do it well.

For a long time, work was the opposite of that “love.”

But especially young workers are beginning to realize the value of their time and effort and are learning to increasingly assess and optimize their jobs to be more in line with what they are passionate about – on their larger journey of professional and personal growth.

One of the paths on this journey is called “job crafting,” where workers “create the work they want to do out of the work they had been assigned.” A concept I have spoken and written about frequently.

But crafting your professional life can also include taking on work outside your job: the side jobs or gig economy jobs.

I still remember arriving in Vietnam and realizing almost everyone was running some Facebook shop, food business, or other venture besides their day job.

Explore our three key steps on how to get a remote job.

A side job for improved well-being.

In the LinkedIn piece, Samira Shihab, CEO of Indonesian online marketplace Tinkerlust, agrees that this now has become a real trend Human Resources leaders should acknowledge:

“The prevalence of side hustles coincides with Gen Z’s dogma of being independent and autonomous, rebelling against the norms of traditional career progression. Their belief of success has evolved, often focusing on work-life balance and financial independence rather than a single work identity.”

This new approach to work by the young workforce resonates with what I’ve written before about how well-being has become the top priority for employees when they consider taking a job.

Young employees surveyed claim they can achieve better well-being by taking on a side job. This makes perfect sense. The extra job provides them with a more secure paycheck and allows them to take control of their working life.

Why employers should be happy that employees have side gigs.

Should employers fear side gigs or actively try to block them? No.

Besides well-being, side jobs are great ways to acquire and enhance skills like entrepreneurship, creativity, and discipline – the lifeblood of any modern company.

With that in mind, businesses can retain many more employees for a much longer time by allowing them to do what they are passionate about. That includes providing support and flexibility employees need in their main jobs.

I’m not speaking theoretically here.

Some in our own team have great side gigs that I welcome. One person has a well-being business, while another teaches design. I’m sure others are active, too. I encourage it all because I know they’ll feel more fulfilled and bring back skills and experience to the job they wouldn’t get from the work itself.

Our Wang – Employee Experience Designer by day, Design Professor by Night

Let’s give side jobs a real shot.

So, here’s a thought for the new year: In the quest for happier employees, let’s consider fully embracing side gigs and celebrating their benefits.

Have an employee-centric rest of your week.


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A weekly column and podcast on the remote, hybrid, and AI-driven future of work. By FlexOS founder Daan van Rossum.