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5 months ago

Gen Z ‘Side Hustles’ Could Change the Future of Work

In recent years, the way young people in the UK approach their careers has shifted, with traditional part-time jobs in retail and hospitality no longer holding the same appeal for the Generation Z demographic. Instead, side hustles and entrepreneurial endeavours are taking their place. This development has potential implications for SMEs, and adapting to this could be key to their future success.

Significant Findings

According to a recent survey conducted by web hosting giant GoDaddy, an incredible one in three Gen Z Brits already run their own business or side hustle, with a further 50% having aspirations of launching a startup. These survey results show a significant departure from the once-traditional practice of taking up a part-time job alongside studies.

The significant takeaway is that 58% of Gen Z respondents find running a side hustle more appealing than working in traditional industries. This shift isn't just a matter of wanting to be their own boss but is rooted in financial considerations.

Woman recording a podcastThe cost-of-living crisis has resulted in 69% of this generation prioritising financial security when making decisions regarding their career path. The findings of GoDaddy’s research make it clear that Gen Z is primarily driven by a desire to find financial security on their own terms.

Another revelation from the study is the willingness of over three-quarters of young workers to sacrifice a portion of their potential salary for the opportunity to run a business they’re passionate about. On average, Gen Z would happily lose 24% of their earnings for the chance to pursue their true passion.

Technology Driving Entrepreneurship

Gen Z is famously an extremely tech-savvy generation. The study backed this up, showing that over half of all respondents have made use of AI tools like ChatGPT to grow their businesses. This knowledge provides them with a competitive edge in the modern business landscape, allowing them to leverage cutting-edge technologies.

26-year-old Omar Meho launched Music Workflow Academy, an online platform for music production and DJ skills, instead of applying for a Saturday job. The Chester-based DJ was featured in Forbes’ prestigious 30 under 30 list.

He said: "Like other young people, in my late teens, I could have gone out and got a job at a local pub or supermarket. I think those industries are less appealing now than they've ever been. Not only are the wages usually unattractive, the hours involved are often at weekends or in the evenings – times when we'd rather be out living life."

How SMEs Can Adapt

The rise of Gen Z side hustles is a promising sign for the future of business, and SMEs must be ready to adapt. This generation values flexibility in their work, so remote work options or flexible schedules will make it easier to attract and retain talent.

SMEs should embrace technology and AI tools to stay competitive and appeal to tech-savvy Gen Z employees. Some of these tools hold impressive potential to enhance productivity and efficiency for a wide range of businesses.

Fostering an entrepreneurial culture by encouraging out-of-the-box thinking will keep innovative Gen Z workers engaged and motivated. Providing opportunities for employees to explore their side hustles or business ideas is a good idea for SMEs.

While Gen Z does prioritise passion and career fulfilment, competitive compensation packages shouldn’t be overlooked. Offering fair wages will always be a vital factor in attracting and retaining top talent.

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Sam White