21 June 2019

Greg Jericho on the latest jobs figures: “The percentage of jobs that are secondary still remains high — at 6.9% it is well above the 6.2% level of five years ago — a difference of around 100,000 more people working in a second job”. This rise in the number of second jobs is a symptom of underemployment, and there is a strong correlation between underemployment and low wages. Jim Stanford has analysed the results of a survey of Australia’s on-demand workforce: “Only about one in six gig workers … rely on a digital platform for the majority of their personal income. For most platform workers, gigs are a way to earn a few extra bucks — not a way to truly support themselves.” Simon Castles warns us not to euphemise away this reality: “[L]ike gig economy, the term side hustle hides more than it reveals. It puts a gloss on grim reality by making insecurity and desperation sound like freedom and empowerment. … The side hustle has emerged as a thing because finding secure full-time work has become harder… The least we can do in response is call it out for what it is using plain English. The side hustle is a second job. It is a third job. It is a fourth job.”