In Brief

Are ‘slashie’ careers the future of work?

New analysis suggests more than 320,500 self-employed people in Britain are working two or more jobs

Holding multiple careers simultaneously is becoming increasingly common, with new analysis revealing more than 320,500 self-employed people in Britain are working two or more jobs.

“Call it what you want – a portfolio career, diversified employment, the rise of the ’millennial multi-hyphenate’ – but rather than doing one job for life, people are actively choosing to become a “slashie” (ie. actor/blogger/author/dog walker)” says HuffPostUK.

The study by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) also revealed that as the number of people working in the self-employed sector has grown, so too has its importance to the UK economy.

The solo self-employed contributed £271bn to the UK economy in 2017: enough to fund the NHS twice over, “while completely changing the way in which careers are viewed”, says Bustle.

“Working more than one job because money is tight is not new, but many ‘slashies’ appear to be doing so for more personal, creative reasons,” says Felicity Hannah for BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money.

“It’s also a bit different to a side-hustle, which is where someone turns their hobby outside their main job into a money-making venture. Many are successful enough to be able to leave their full-time employment to become a ‘slashie’” she adds.

The majority of “slashies” work in multiple fields by choice, “to pursue a passion, try something new and get some extra income while doing something they love”, says Chloé Jepps, deputy head of research at IPSE. It is also a way to trial a new business proposition, she adds: “You can test a new idea without leaping straight into it and try things without taking the full risk.”

As Forbes reports, being freelance can also be very attractive for parents who need flexible hours for childcare or who are concerned about the potential negative impact of family demands on their career. 

But Ursula Huws, professor of labour and globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire business school, says the rise in people working multiple jobs also reflects the reality of the new working poor in the UK – those who have a job, but still don’t earn enough to pay their bills and living expenses.

HuffPost says “many people are engaged in what researchers describes as ‘involuntary part time work’ – such as a zero-hours contract – where they would like to work more hours if only they had the choice”.

In addition, “although having a number of jobs and working around the clock is the new sign of success, unfortunately this can lead to burnout” says Bustle.

Research conducted by The Financial Times has found millennials are more likely to be part of the flexible “gig economy”, and are also less likely to take holiday time than older workers.

The rise of social media and the interconnected work-place where workers are often expected to be on call 24/7 have further contributed to increased stress levels among younger workers.

“Of course, experts indicate that the rise of the slashie is due to the fact that so many young people now must have a range of jobs in order to eat,” says Jonathan Heaf in GQ. “But perhaps it’s also an excuse not to do any real work at all. The slashie is able to conjure an Insta-career, or careers, turning one's half-baked ideas or dalliances into a sellable business strategy.”

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