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OncoreSep 21, 2023 6:00:29 PM6 min read

More Than Just a Gig: Understanding Australia's Side Hustle Surge

A national report released by ING in Australia revealed nearly half (48%) of the Australians surveyed either have or are planning to start a side hustle. New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, reveals there are now close to 950,000 Aussies working multiple jobs, up more than 10 per cent since last year.  

The Australian Hustle in Numbers

Secondary jobs increased by 3.5 per cent to 1.1 million in the last quarter. "Australians are really jumping onto that side hustle, a second job as it were, to combat the increasing cost of living," Professor Gary Mortimer from Queensland University of Technology's Business School explained.

Employee Retention Benefits (1)


Some typical side hustles include buying and reselling goods online, driving for ride-share and delivery platforms like Uber and DoorDash, pet services, tutoring and freelance writing. This wave is being forced by the high cost of living and casualised labour is moving people into a second or even third job to make ends meet.


Contracting: Beyond the Typical Side Hustle

A growing trend also indicates a rise in contracting, especially in areas like IT consulting, digital marketing, and cybersecurity. Professionals with specialised skills are leveraging their expertise to take on extra contract roles, offering businesses valuable insights on a project-by-project basis.


The Ease of Modern Side Hustling

The gap between having an idea and making it a reality has never been smaller. These days, technological platforms like Airbnb, eBay, Airtasker, Uber, DoorDash, Upwork and Toptal are all free to use and make it much easier for people to provide their services and goods to their customers in a flexible and timely manner.

Almost 1 million people in Australia have a side hustle, the highest ever recorded number. New technology, apps and platforms combined with more flexible working conditions have made it easier than ever to juggle jobs and family with personal interests and growth.


The Driving Factors Behind the Side Hustle Boom

There are several reasons why more and more people are starting side hustles. Months of straight interest rate rises and increased costs of almost everything have seen people get creative about saving and earning more.

In September 2020, a study conducted by Upwork, an American freelance job platform, saw two million more Americans had started freelancing in the preceding 12 months, due to the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic and closure of businesses. For some of these workers, the extra income was crucial in helping them to cover their primary livelihood and keep up with the cost of living.


A Shift in Career Perspectives

Having a single career trajectory or linear career path is also becoming a thing of the past as there are more opportunities to experiment alongside life’s twists and turns. Microsoft’s Work Trends Index found that younger generations are the most likely to aspire to be their own boss, with 76% of Gen Z workers and Millennials saying that this is a goal. These younger generations are also more likely to say that they’d stay at their current company longer if the company gave them the flexibility to pursue side projects or businesses for additional income (77%).


Freelancing: The New Normal

As well as a healthy number of side-hustling business owners, Australia has over 4 million freelancers, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular career choice. Australia currently ranks fourth in the list of fastest-growing freelancing countries. Being in the freelancing industry allows you to take on short-term work or multiple projects simultaneously and most freelancers work entirely remotely, opening you up to a global pool of opportunities.

Furthermore, areas like software development, UX/UI design, and IT consulting are witnessing a significant increase in freelance opportunities. Professionals in these fields often find that contracting allows them to work on diverse projects and stay updated with the latest industry trends - it’s a total win/win!


Facing the Financial Tide:  The Interest Rate Impact 

In 2020, the nationwide average mortgage repayments reported was just $1,755 per month. Now, that figure sits at $3,428, a difference of $1673 per month in just three years. The rise of this figure has pushed families and individuals to pick up a side hustle or second job. 

More than a million Australian households with home loans are facing a huge financial shock over the next year and a half. At least 880,000 "fixed-rate" mortgages will expire this year and another 450,000 in 2024. Borrowers will be flicked from loans set at the emergency low rates of the pandemic some of the cheapest money on record onto variable loans subject to what's been the steepest-ever climb in interest rates.

People will have to find potentially thousands of dollars more each month to service their home loans, with the Reserve Bank threatening more hikes to come, prompting the "mortgage cliff". Side hustles may help reduce the impact and financial strain on families.


The Multifaceted Benefits of a Side Hustle
  1. Levelling up on skills: Side hustles provide an opportunity to develop various skills such as confidence, resilience, discipline, communication, sales techniques, digital acumen, leadership, creativity, and problem-solving.
  2. Encouraging independence and proactivity: Engaging in a side hustle fosters a sense of autonomy and proactivity in learning and sharing knowledge.
  3. Generating additional finances: Side hustles offer an avenue to supplement one's income and improve financial stability.
  4. Expanding networks: Side hustles provide an opportunity to meet new people, develop professional networks and foster meaningful connections.
  5. Finding purpose: Nearly 60% of individuals are searching for a sense of purpose, and side hustles can be a source of fulfilment and meaning.
  6. Opportunities to work from anywhere: Side hustles unlock new methods of working and the ability to work with or work for companies all over the world, in person or remotely. This itself builds cultural awareness, understanding and adaptability.
  7. Deepening Expertise:  Engaging in high-end contracting allows professionals to continually refine and expand their specialised industry knowledge, enhancing their marketability and often leading to more lucrative opportunities, all without being tied down to long-term commitments.


Ask around your friends, and chances are one of them has a side hustle. Whether it started as a passion project to beat lockdown boredom or to keep up with the cost of living, more Australians are monetising their skills on the side. And some are even turning them into full-time businesses.


Popular Side Hustle Ideas for Australians:
  • Online Tutoring or Teaching 
  • Freelance IT Consulting
  • E-Commerce
  • Digital Marketing Freelancing
  • Blogging or Content Creation
  • Web and Graphic Design
  • Cybersecurity Consulting
  • Photography
  • Rental Income
  • Online Surveys and Market Research 
  • Software Development
  • Fitness Coaching
  • Event Planning


Navigating this Flexible Future

As the number of Australians leaning into side hustles continues to grow, so does the need for effective management and guidance. Whether you're an individual diving into the world of freelancing or a business seeking the flexibility and talent of an independent contractor, Oncore is here to help. With our tailored solutions and expert advice, we can ensure that your side hustle or contracting experience is streamlined, rewarding, and compliant. Don't navigate this journey alone; let Oncore be your trusted partner in maximising the potential of your side hustle or contracting role. Contact us today for tailored support