It’s no secret that the gender gap is a serious concern for women in the workplace, but it turns out that the divide might have a bigger effect on you than you think. According to a recent survey by Jobvite, 25% of working Americans have some form of secondary income. The reason for seeking out that income, however, varies widely by gender.
The Jobvite survey shows that women are more likely than men to pursue a side hustle due to financial necessity, while men are more likely to start one so they can pursue their passions. Members of both genders pursue additional work for both reasons, but when 61% of women say they need the financial support (compared to 48% of men) — it begs the question as to why.
Experts have pinpointed three main reasons that might explain the secondary income gender gap.
1. The wage gap.
According to Payscale, the wage gap currently sits at 23.7%. Women are statically more likely to use the income from their side hustle to help pay for their everyday expenses at almost double the rate of men. Though researchers don't know for sure, it's likely that the income from secondary work fills in part of the salary that women aren't getting thanks to the wage gap.
2. Personal debt.
Millennials are graduating from college with incredibly high amounts of student debt, and this debt prevents recent graduates from living the lives they hoped they would. An easy way to get around that is through pursuing a side hustle. Kassondra Cloos told Fast Company about how her personal debt encouraged her to find additional work. “I was paying almost as much in rent as I was for student loans,” she said. “I really wanted to save money to travel, but it wasn’t something that I felt I could justify with my student debt.”
As a result, Cloos rented out her room on Airbnb, drove in a ride share program and even donated plasma so she had the funds to live how she wanted to. Cloos was able to pay back debt while reaching her financial goals — all thanks to her side hustles.
3. Women are already pursuing their passions.
Experts have theorized that it's possible that women use side hustles for additional income because they're already working full-time jobs they're passionate about and are okay with the lower pay as a result. While pursuing one's passions might be a great personal benefit for working women, it may end up being a detriment to the full-time companies women are working for. Rachel Bitte, the chief people officer for Jobvite, says that employees balancing more than one job might eventually leave their full-time job for good. "I think there's an independence factor leading this," Bitte said. "[Side hustlers] might start to ask themselves, ‘why can’t I turn my side gig into a full-time career?”
Regardless of whether you're considering a side hustle or if you already have one, one thing is for certain — the gender gap has a serious impact on your work life outside of the traditional office.