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Is everyone working a second job?

Azar doesn’t disclose whether or not she works a second job, but she does marketing consulting on her own.

“A lot of people are becoming entrepreneurs not because they’re even passionate about it,” she said, “but because they know they can get contract work and just work 24/7.”

This level of hustle may sound like an exaggeration, but the data backs her up. Nearly a third (30%) of 10,000 workers across 10 countries have a second job due to economic concerns, according to a 2023 study by marketing and data analytics firm Kantar.

Gen Z makes up the largest part of those workers: 40% of the youngest working generation holding down two (or more) jobs to bring in more income.

This is even with the 22% increase in hourly wages that occurred between March 2020 and February 2024, according to Federal Reserve data.

There’s still a “productivity-pay gap,” which is the difference between the growth of the economy (“productivity”) and workers’ wages (“pay”), according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The EPI says that wages increased by 14.8% from 1979 to 2022. However, productivity has increased by 64.7% — a whopping four times as much as hourly pay. But this productivity output goes into the pockets of shareholders and executives, not workers.

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Homebody culture hurts the economy

Azar isn’t just upset that her generation has to work more to afford everyday expenses. She’s also worried about the economy.

When people spend all weekend working, rather than enjoying leisure time, it hurts everyone. As one commenter pointed out on Azar’s follow-up video, “The weekends: when we are supposed to spend money and support the economy.”

A 2023 Bank of America poll discovered that 73% of Gen Z cut back on their spending because of economic concerns. Azar said that she used to “love” going out, but now she can’t afford it.

The government’s pandemic stimulus checks are a good example of how important weekend spending can be for the economy. Stimulus checks weren’t only provided to cover necessities, but to “spur economic activity,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

USA Today reported that consumers’ savings are decreasing since the pandemic, which may slow down spending this year. With consumption making up about 70% of the economy, that slowdown could be the springboard for a recession.

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Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.

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