Number of Brits 'moonlighting' at work doubles

The number of British workers 'moonlighting' at work in order to supplement their income has more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to a new survey.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Britain is becoming a nation of 'moonlighters' as cash-strapped workers attempt to shoehorn extra hours of work into their 9-5. And these workers aren't saving for luxuries like holidays or iPads. The poll of 450,000 workers by online freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour has revealed that almost three in five are taking on extra work just to pay their heating bills or to cover the weekly food shop.

Worryingly, for almost four in ten, moonlighting is the only thing keeping them from serious financial trouble: 19% are taking on extra work in a bid to pay down debts, while 18% are doing so to meet mortgage repayments. Another 15% say the choice is between moonlighting or payday loans.

The majority - over three quarters - of moonlighters are also so-called ‘five-to-niners’, working in the early evenings on top of their full-time nine-to-five day jobs, with more than half (53%) working weekends too. A quarter (24%) are making the most of their lunch break by selling their skills in small chunks of time, while 18% shun sleep and work through the night to earn some extra cash.
And moonlighters are selling a range of skills – not only professional skills for small businesses such as design, bookkeeping and copywriting, but ‘hobbyist’ skills too, such as fixing bikes, walking dogs, writing best man speeches, date planning and researching family histories.

Just under a third of the survey respondents are clocking up an extra six to 10 hours per week on top of their day jobs, although a conscientious 16% are working 15-20 hours extra per week and 10% are working an additional 21-25 hours per week. A workaholic 8% are racking up more than 26 extra hours per week.

Women are more likely to moonlight at work, however, with 62% of female respondents admitting to doing a little extra during work hours compared to 38% of men.
The lure of the moonlight is understandable given the amount that these workers are earning on top of their montly wage. Six in 10 moonlighters are boosting their monthly incomes by up to 20%, while 31% are topping up their earnings by 21-50%. One in ten are bumping up their wages by more than 50%.

Want to find the moonlighters in your organisation? The hotspots identified by are Manchester and Liverpool. Over the past 12 months alone, these cities have seen an increase of 163% and 162% respectively in the number of full-time employees taking on extra work. Bolton isn’t far behind with an increase of 148%.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

I ran Iceland's central bank in 2009. Here's what I learned about crisis ...

And you thought your turnaround was tricky.

"It's easy to write a cheque you don't have to cash for 30 ...

But BP's new CEO has staked his legacy on going green.

AI opens up an ethical minefield for businesses

There will inevitably be unintended consequences from blindly adopting new technology.

The strange curse of No 11 Downing Street

As Sajid Javid has just discovered, “chancellors come and go… the Treasury endures forever”.

Men are better at self-promotion than women

Research shows women under-rate their performance even when they have an objective measure of how...

When doing the right thing gets you in trouble

Concern with appearances can distort behaviour, as this research shows.