Many South Africans work two jobs to make ends meet

More than one in three people earn income from an extra job – survey.
Picture: Shutterstock

More than one in three working individuals earning more than R5 000 a month earn an additional income over and above their normal job, an online survey suggests.

These individuals, referred to as “slashers” due to the “slash” between their job titles (communication manager/yoga instructor), are part of a global phenomenon where people supplement their main source of income for various reasons. American author Marci Alboher coined the term in 2007.

Conducted towards the end of June among a booster sample of 943 individuals as complementary research for the annual Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor, the survey studied the habits of working South Africans. Twenty-four percent of respondents indicated that they earned additional income by doing something that was vastly different from their current job. An additional 13% said they earned more money by doing something similar to their current job.

Lynette Nicholson, research manager at Old Mutual, says it is typically entrepreneurial, go-getters who become slashers, in part to ensure greater job security and because their income may not be coping with growing expenses.

The South African economy recently entered a technical recession with some corporates cutting staff and many households feel the pinch of a higher effective tax burden.

One of the slashers who participated in the research project was Matilda Harris, a printing business manager and water aerobics instructor.

“The reason I have two jobs is the economy has become very tight and I needed a bit of extra income,” she says.

Having two jobs also means that if the printing business does not make enough money her extra job can help pay the bills and vice versa. Any extra money will be saved, but because of economic pressure this does not always happen, Harris says. 

Another slasher and participant, Thapelo Mogapi, a customer service supervisor and DJ, says the financial benefit allows him to provide for his kids and live a normal life despite the economic slump.

When survey respondents were asked why they had more than one job, 55% indicated that additional income helped them to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Forty-five percent said they were saving for unexpected expenses while 43% paid off debt. Almost 40% said they struggled to make ends meet (see graphic below).

Common second jobs included catering, event planning, photography, tutoring, waitressing, selling Herbalife, running a gardening service or installing water treatment equipment.

While more than 60% of individuals indicated that they enjoyed having more than one job, 17% said it had a negative impact on their personal or family life. Almost 30% said they found it difficult to manage everything, while 42% said they didn’t really have time for more than one job, but needed the money. Only 14% said they did not really need more than one job.

Nicholson expects the percentage of South Africans who supplement their main source of income to rise in future, although she doesn’t want to put a number to it.

The main survey, which was based on face-to-face interviews with a 1 000 working metropolitan households, shows that South Africans continue to save too little.

Even among relatively affluent households earning more than R40 000 per month, 25% indicated that their income did not cover their living costs at least once in the past year.

When household income did not cover expenses, borrowing money from a friend or relative was one of the most popular ways of overcoming the challenge. 


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Quite true and it never killed anyone.
Kids today don’t believe that and nor do the whining, demonstrating destroying lazy lot that SA has that seem entitled to everything.

The answer to ‘when income and expenses do not meet’ is not a knee-jerk reaction, quick fix. Borrowing from friends or your stokvel has become the norm rather than an emergency life-line, in many cases. Young people today are slaves to consumerism, peer pressure and instant gratification. Only once they get over wanting to need ‘stuff’ and that financial well-being comes from long term astute planning, will they realise that they actually can live within their means and that it is possible for income and expenses to meet.

In my youth I often had three jobs on the go to sustain my lifestyle – as pwgg says hard work never killed anyone, my kids also had weekend jobs in high school so its a mindset which many of the youth of today need to come to terms with – nothing in life is for free

With the ANC stealing like they are (and from us all), they may have to take on a fourth job to stay alive.

yes it is so sad that the taxpayer has to work hard – to pay taxes that is given to SAA

2015 headlines government bails out SAA AGAIN = R6.5 Billion and now again R2.3 Billion

you often have the case of somebody with a small business has to borrow money to pay taxes as there is nothing left at the end of the day after he had to pay his children’s school fees, medical aid and all that, which the government is supposed to pay out of his taxes.

how sad is that and then he has to watch TV news and see that SARS is paying a corrupt company to stay in business with HIS hard earned money

shame on our “leaders”

Love this quote from George Bush:
“You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”

To a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005”

Working more than 1 job can be a sign of a go-getter or a sign of poverty, it all depends…

Generally income is correlated with intelligence, so it’s interesting to see that even at R40k/month, 1 in 4 fail to do their sums. Perhaps a variation on the Peter principle at work. Keep spending until it hurts.

As for the rest of the stats: completely meaningless, since they were put together by a PR agency and lack even the most basic statistical rigour.

I agree with pwgg and grahamer. i too worked 3 jobs and still do. my children learnt from me and are not shy of doing more than one job, This all leads to one thing, how come we can, yet there is mass employment. Do the unemployed want to work?

I offered a begger R5 000.00 a month for a part time job. he refused it because he earns more on the street and he is his own boss.

End of comments.




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