More Office Workers Juggle 2nd Job

  • By Jo Jae-hee

    September 08, 2021 08:39

    A growing number of younger office workers are juggling two jobs as lifelong secure position becomes a thing of the past. Second jobs are often in the same field as their main salaried position and tap into existing contacts.

    One enterprising 35-year-old staffer at an automaker has a second job selling accessories for imported cars online. He opened the online portal by tapping into his experiences at work and in hobby clubs.

    The shop has generated about W1 million a month since opening a few months ago (US$1=W1,164). "I use my free time and weekends to package and mail products," he said. "The products I sell are small, so it's not a big hassle."

    One 40-year-old who heads overseas purchases for a conglomerate also runs a service that buys luxury products for clients. Using his fluent English and marketing knowhow, his strength is the close relationships he built with vendors overseas. He makes 1.5 times his main salary through the service. 

    There are also cases of office workers turning their hobbies into second jobs. One 41-year-old staffer in a mid-sized conglomerate earns extra cash as a web novelist by tapping into his old hobby of writing stories online when he was in a college. He opened his own office and hired an assistant once his monthly net earnings surpassed W10 million.

    Translation and other work involving foreign languages is also popular. One 33-year-old who studied in China from middle school to university earned more than W6 million in the first six months of this year teaching Mandarin and translating.

    The main reason for this trend is that workers know that lifetime job security even in well-established companies is a thing of the past as the pace of Korea's economic growth slows.

    According to the Korea Economic Research Institute, wages increased only two to three percent in big businesses over the past year. Kim Sung-yong, head of an online platform that helps people find second jobs, said, "The older generation were able to create additional income by investing in real estate, but that is no longer possible for people in their 30s and 40s. Instead, they're focusing on their side jobs."

    The trend has been growing as more and more workers have been working from home in the pandemic. According to one survey, the proportion of salaried workers with second jobs stands at over 20 percent. The popularity of easy-to-use online business platforms like Instagram and Naver Smartstore have only fueled the trend. 

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