Rising prices and the ailing economy are forcing many South Africans to work multiple jobs, Old Mutual has found, showing that, although South Africans continue to save too little, we are resourceful when it comes to overcoming financial challenges.

Lynette Nicholson, the research manager at Old Mutual, says a growing number of people in working metropolitan households, particularly in the middle-to-upper-income brackets, are finding ways to supplement their incomes by having more than one job. “This reflects a global phenomenon that led to the coining of the term ‘slashers’, referring to the slash between their job titles: for example, editor/nail technician.” 

To delve deeper into this trend and to supplement its newly released 2017 Savings and Investment Monitor, Old Mutual commissioned an additional online survey of 943 working respondents who earn a monthly personal income of R5 000 or more. It found that 37% of this sample were slashers. Of these slashers, 13% stated that their additional job was similar to the work they did every day (for example, a chartered accountant who helps friends for a fee with their personal finances), and 24% stated they did something totally different to their primary job (for example, a communication manager by day, a yoga instructor by night).

Among the slashers who hold dissimilar jobs or have different businesses from their full-time employment, Old Mutual found the following trends:

• Second jobs or businesses ranged from event planning to manicuring, growing and selling vegetables, garden services, making costume jewellery and photography;

• The majority seem to be coping well with their dual jobs, with 63% of respondents stating that they enjoy having more than one job; 

• 42% stated that they don’t have time for more than one job, but persevere because they need the money; 

• Only 17% of respondents stated that having more than one job has impacted their family life/personal life negatively, with 74% saying they don’t find it too difficult to manage more than one job; 

• 37% have embarked on these additional income streams so that they can retire more comfortably, while 37% have done so because they will have to help their families financially; and  

• 29% were motivated by wanting to save for their children’s education, while 29% wanted to save some money to leave to their children. 

The Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor also found that about 39% of respondents were thinking about starting their own business. This is highest in the 35-to-49-year age group (42%), Nicholson says.

The promotion and development of entrepreneurship is one of the priorities identified in the government’s National Development Plan.