Alternative Routes to the Top: The Rise of Non-traditional Career Paths
“I’m a brand marketer slash blogger and training to be a Yoga instructor on the side.” A mere 5 years ago such a description of one’s career would have been a rarity, but there is a growing ‘slash culture’ with workers handling more than one job simultaneously. The number of side hustlers has risen by 32% in the last decade with British millennials, like Jemima , leading the charge with 1 in 5 claiming to have 2 or more jobs. They are the generation of career jugglers.
As the older generation sought out a ‘job for life’ in one company, millennials job jump across companies and industries. In fact, 37% of 18-24-year olds have already worked in two other industries prior to their current sector and 13% intend to change industries within the next year. This multi jobbing is largely from a drive to learn new skills and have variety and experience. Some see it as a faster route up the career ladder; many 24-year-olds, on paper, will have a more varied skill set than someone 20 years their senior. But for others, the proliferation of a slash culture has given rise to the opportunity to turn a passion project into a side business, to better one’s work/life balance or purely a way to earn extra income.
Nearly 3 million millennials juggling two or more jobs clock up an extra 10 hours a week and can earn an additional £387 a month extra. One in ten are using the money for a specific financial goal and a third do it to get ahead in their career. Technology and the ‘always on’ society has only made side hustling and diversifying your occupation ever more accessible. Many take advantage of the ‘sharing economy’ through platforms such as AirBnB (24%) to access extra income or even sell clothes on eBay. Or platforms such as ETSY use its platform to empower and support flexible entrepreneurship through their program ‘Craft Entrepreneurship’. This program is a hand’s on educational toolkit ‘that helps makers use their existing craft skills to learn how to start, manage, and grow a micro business’ and ‘earn supplemental income through their craft.’. Not only does this allow individuals to pursue their passions for extra income but also teaches them incremental skills and knowledge around setting up and running a business. A slash culture has given rise to multi skilled individuals empowered with a far wider breadth of knowledge.
Although this trend may be driven by adventurous, curious millennials, it is certainly not confined to them. The options for these ‘hyphenated careers’ are limitless and more 'midlifer's' are seeking this career trajectory too. This is for varied reasons, partly an interest in continuous learning and pursuing passion projects, but also due to the rise of an obligated workforce. The need for dual income parenting and the growing ‘sandwich generation’ with more people needing to care for older relatives have driven people to seek alternate routes of income in work that can accommodate their other commitments in their life. In fact, 44% of side hustlers are parents with at least one child under 19 living at home.
The non-traditional career route is becoming the new normal, particularly as millennials become more of the workforce. This new culture should not only be embraced as it creates a more diverse, multi skilled and innovative workforce but also because this entrepreneurial spirit is driving the economy forward. Every 1000 side hustles create an extra 876 and according to Cebr these entrepreneurial Brits have boosted the UK economy by £14.4 billion. Companies should therefore embrace this rising culture and create a far more flexible working environment. They should offer flexible hours allowing them to manage their own time and appreciate their priorities outside of the workplace and even provide opportunities to upskill and learn at work. Entrepreneurial spirit is on the up and that’s great news for companies...And for the UK economy!