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Two in five young Brits rely on 'side hustle' to make ends meet

Abigail Fenton
Source: Blake Wisz/Unsplash
More people are topping up their incomes with extra jobs or business. Photo: Blake Wisz/Unsplash

Three in five young people now have a “side hustle” because the cost of living is “too high”, according to survey.

Job board Milkround found 60% of UK students and graduates said they have a “side hustle” – some type of employment on top of studying or a full-time job – because the cost of living is too high to exist on their main salary or student loan.

In fact, 43% said they wouldn’t be able to afford their rent without the additional income from their side hustle.

READ MORE: How Fiverr freelancing may top Uber driving as side hustle

One in five (22%) even cited having two additional jobs, while Britain’s graduate debt crisis means nearly half of current students and recent graduates (42%) have joined the gig economy in order to combat debt, afford rent and the rising cost of living.

These young Brits spend about 8 hours a week on their “side hustle” – subsequently earning an average extra of £3,393 a year – as they can’t afford to live on their main income or student loan.

Government data shows the value of outstanding student loans topped £121bn in March this year.

READ MORE: The major dangers of having a side hustle

With full-time university fees set at £9,250, graduates are already in more than £50,000 debt from the very first time they walk into the workplace.

Nearly nine in 10 (87%) students and recent graduates who don’t currently have a side hustle would contemplate one in order to earn extra cash.

Despite almost a third (30%) of young Brits feeling they lose out on social time due to their second job, 41% cited their side hustles as a creative outlet, saying it improves their quality of life (61%) and even enables them to meet new people and friends (65%).

READ MORE: 8 Side-Hustles You Can Do with a Full-Time Job

One in five (20%) of those had “quirky, creative” jobs such as a nightclub lighting designer, a trampoline park party host, escape room host and a tattoo artist, the research found.

Georgina Brazier, graduate jobs expert at Milkround, said: “With student loans, the cost of rent and living consistently rising, there are more financial burdens placed on students and graduates than ever.

“Not only has our research uncovered the financial pressures students are facing, but also the tensions between losing out on socialising due to having a side hustle, to earn extra cash.”

READ MORE: How to have a successful side hustle

With businesses such as Instagram and Under Armour having started out as side projects for their founders, the passion over pay approach is on the rise amongst Gen Z.

Nearly a third (31%) of students and graduates have a side hustle for extra experience, and 43% agreed that their side hustle helps to develop entrepreneurial skills.

“As softer skills such as excellent communication and creativity become more desirable to employers, those with side hustles are consistently enhancing their skill set and demonstrating the dedication to their creative passions, to ensure they are the strongest candidate for recruiters,” Milkround said.