Here are the statistics about moonlighting in the US. We’ve crunched the numbers to present the most relevant and up-to-date facts.
Moonlighting, or having a second job, has become increasingly common in the United States, particularly as living costs rise and many individuals seek additional income to make ends meet.
According to a recent study, with inflation skyrocketing to 8.3% year over year in August 2022, an estimated 70 percent of the working population is now looking for a second job to supplement their primary income.
While moonlighting was once primarily associated with earning extra money for discretionary spending, it has now become necessary for many workers to maintain their financial stability.
As remote work becomes more widespread, opportunities for moonlighting in various sectors, such as technology, have increased, opening new doors for employees to explore multiple job opportunities simultaneously.
Current Moonlighting Statistics
Moonlighting, or having a second job, has become increasingly prevalent in recent years due to various economic factors. According to a recent snippet, nearly 70 percent of the US working population is now looking for a second job to supplement their income due to skyrocketing inflation, which reached 8.3% year over year in August 2022.
Demographics of Moonlighters
In the United States, more than half (53%) of moonlighters reportedly work full-time at their primary job and part-time at a secondary job. In comparison, about a quarter (26%) hold part-time positions in their primary and secondary jobs. Additionally, 16% of moonlighters have variable hours at both jobs.
Moonlighting is a common practice undertaken by many employees without any negative consequences for themselves or their employers. The rise of online platforms and the gig economy has made moonlighting and alternative employment opportunities more accessible, especially in recent years.
Some industries, such as the IT industry, have experienced a significant increase in moonlighting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are various reasons for individuals to engage in moonlighting, such as to supplement their income, pursue a hobby, or gain additional work experience. Demographically, moonlighters can be found across a wide range of age groups and education levels.
Reasons for Moonlighting
Moonlighting, or holding a second job, has become increasingly prevalent among working individuals in the US. There are several important reasons motivating people to take on additional work. These reasons include financial pressures, professional growth, and personal fulfillment.
Perhaps the most common reason for moonlighting is a financial necessity. With inflation skyrocketing to 8.3% year over year in August 2022 and living costs continuously rising, many people find it challenging to meet their expenses or pay off debts with a single income source. As a result, nearly 70 percent of the working population is now looking for a second job to supplement their income.
Another motivation for moonlighting is the pursuit of professional growth and career development. Some employees may take on a second job that allows them to gain additional skills, improve their resume, or build a network in a different industry. By moonlighting, they can explore new career paths and expand their opportunities for success.
Personal fulfillment is another reason that drives people to work a second job. For some, exploring passions and interests outside of their primary job can be an opportunity.
The reasons for moonlighting include financial pressures, professional growth, and personal fulfillment. These factors contribute to the growing trend of holding a second job among the US working population.
Industries with a High Prevalence of Moonlighting
Moonlighting is a growing trend among workers, especially in industries marked by nonstandard work arrangements, non-wage benefits, job permanency, and union coverage. Based on the available data, some industries have a higher prevalence of moonlighting than others.
The IT sector is the most prominent industry where moonlighting is prevalent (at least in terms of conducted research).
In addition, the rise of remote work has led to increased moonlighting in the Information Technology (IT) sector. As per a recent review, remote work enables IT professionals to take on secondary jobs more easily, often in the same or related fields.
The prevalence of moonlighting varies depending on job security, financial needs, and inflation. Consequently, employees working in industries that provide non-wage benefits and flexible work schedules are likelier to engage in moonlighting.
For example, transportation services, such as rideshare drivers working for multiple platforms, are prime examples of modern-day moonlighting.
Impact on Work-Life Balance
Moonlighting or having a second job can significantly impact individuals’ work-life balance. Managing professional and personal priorities becomes more challenging with increased work hours and added responsibilities.
The recent Harvard Business Review report states that achieving better balance involves reflexivity and questioning one’s assumptions about work and life boundaries.
Second jobs may increase stress, fatigue, and a reduction in time for self-care and family responsibilities, ultimately affecting overall well-being.
According to a McKinsey report, it is crucial for employees to find a sustainable balance and for organizations to support their staff through benefits like parental leave, flexible work hours, and health programs.
With more people working remotely due to the pandemic, the lines between work and personal life have blurred for many individuals. This shift has affected how employees perceive work-life balance, as mentioned in a Forbes article.
Moonlighters must establish clear boundaries between their primary jobs, second jobs, and personal lives to minimize stress and burnout.
Here are some strategies to help moonlighters maintain work-life balance:
- Setting clear boundaries between work and personal time
- Prioritizing tasks effectively and delegating when possible
- Establishing a support system that includes friends, family, and coworkers
- Utilizing time management tools and techniques
- Focusing on self-care, including exercise, sleep, and healthy eating
By focusing on a sustainable balance between work and personal life, individuals with second jobs can manage their responsibilities effectively, avoiding the negative impacts on their well-being and overall quality of life.
The prevalence of moonlighting in the United States has grown steadily in recent years. Remote work opportunities and financial needs have contributed to this increase, with many workers taking on secondary jobs to make ends meet or to pursue their passions.
Many moonlighters report pursuing additional jobs for increased job satisfaction, seeking fulfillment in their secondary positions that they may not find in their primary roles. Employers have responded to the rise in moonlighting, some developing policies to address potential impacts on work performance and commitment.
The growth of the gig economy has also contributed to the rise of moonlighting, allowing workers to take on project-based tasks in addition to their primary jobs.
Moonlighting has become a significant aspect of the modern workforce, driven by personal and economic factors.
- HR Forecast
- “A Review of Moonlighting in the IT Sector and Its Impact”, ResearchGate
- Pew Research Center
- “Effect of Job Satisfaction on Moonlighting Intentions: Mediating Effect of Organizational Commitment”, ResearchGate