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Brits forced to “moonlight” during lunch hours to afford living costs

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Some 65 per cent of moonlighters are taking on extra work just to pay for their heating bills or to cover the weekly food shop, according to a poll by PeoplePerHour.

Those registering on the site to earn extra cash alongside a full or part time job has risen by 110% to just over 190,000, the online freelance marketplace reports.

The figures also reveal that the majority (77 per cent) of moonlighters are so-called “five-to-niners”, working in the early evenings on top of their full-time nine-to-five day jobs, while more than half (58 per cent) work weekends. 

A quarter (24 per cent) are making the most of their lunch hours, by selling their skills in small chunks of time, while 18 per cent shun sleep and work through the night to earn some extra cash.

“It seems that as austerity measures take their toll on finances, Brits are finding their entrepreneurial spirit and making every spare moment count,” says Xenios Thrasyvoulou, CEO of PeoplePerHour. 

A third of moonlighters (34 per cent) are clocking up an extra 6 to 10 hours per week on top of their day jobs, although a committed 22 per cent are working 15-20 hours extra per week and a surprising 8 per cent are working an impressive additional 21-25 hours per week.

“The cost of living will inevitably keep increasing over the year and will be an issue for workers in the UK, but for the foreseeable future wages are not going rise with inflation, which would explain the droves of people taking on second and sometimes third jobs,” says Thrasyvoulou.

Why are people turning to moonlighting? For almost four in ten (39 per cent), it seems moonlighting is keeping them from serious financial trouble: 21 per cent are taking on extra work in a bid to pay down debts, while 25 per cent are doing so to pay off their summer holidays. Worryingly, over a third (36 per cent) are moonlighting just to be able to afford to heat their homes.

Those surveyed are selling a range of skills to increase their incomes – 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.

The figures also revealed that Liverpool and Manchester are UK hotspots for moonlighting. Over the past 12 months alone, the cities have seen an increase of 164 per cent and 163 per cent respectively in the number of full-time employees taking on extra work. Bolton isn’t far behind with an increase of 148 per cent. 

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