Millions forced to turn to second jobs

A new survey from Royal London shows that workers are doing longer hours and taking on more jobs to get through the financial crisis, with women significantly more anxious than men about it.

Stressed women at laptop

 

Millions of UK workers have had to turn to second or multiple jobs in the face of soaring living costs, while others are working extremely long hours, according to new research.

Research from mutual life, pensions and investment provider, Royal London show that 5.2 million workers have taken on an additional job to help pay for the increased cost of living and another 10 million plan to, with women being signficantly more anxious about their finances than men.

The findings are based on Royal London’s second Cost of Living survey, of 4,000 adults, which also shows that many UK employees are already working extremely long hours, with over a quarter (28%) of full-time workers working beyond the recommended maximum 48 hours a week. Of those, a fifth (19%) state they are working over 56 hours every week, the equivalent of more than 11 hours a day over a five-day working week.

The survey shows only one in ten (13%) UK adults are confident they’ll be able to cope financially with rising costs. And despite working multiple jobs or very long hours, many are still struggling to bring in enough money to pay for increased living costs. Two fifths (42%) of those working the longest hours say they are either unable to or finding it much harder to cover basic costs.

The Royal London says four in five (81%) people have already made changes to help pay for the rise in prices, but the impact on people’s budgets means many adults are struggling to make ends meet. Nearly a third (31%) of people have to borrow or go overdrawn before they reach pay day. Many have already cut back and reduced their spending, but their outgoings are overtaking their income, resulting in them turning to various types of borrowing, such as credit cards and unplanned overdrafts.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of adults are planning on using their savings to help cover increases in the cost of living, but many admit they have little or no financial cushion to fall back on. Almost a fifth (17%) of people said that they could only fund an unexpected expense of up to £100 from either their income or savings.

Rising costs aren’t just impacting finances, over three fifths (64%) say they’re overwhelmed and feeling more anxious (35%), more stressed (34%), have a lower mood than usual (29%) or they are having trouble sleeping (22%), with more women than men affected emotionally by the crisis. While over one in four men (27%) describe themselves as more anxious than usual as a result of increasing costs, this rises to over four in ten for women (42%). Women are also more likely to report feeling more stressed than usual (40% v 28% of men). And while 35% of people describe themselves as extremely worried about energy bills, far fewer men than women (28% compared to 41%) were in this category. However, women are more likely than men to have made cutbacks as a result of the increased cost of living, and are less likely than men to describe themselves as in financial crisis.

Sara Willcocks, Head of External Affairs at national poverty charity Turn2us, said: “If you are worried about money, we urge you to seek advice as soon as possible. You can do a practical financial health check, which means checking what benefits you are entitled to via the Turn2us Benefits Calculator or, if you have debt concerns, speaking to a specialist debt organisation. You can also find out if you are eligible for any grants towards these costs for energy, furniture and other household essentials via our Grants Search, as well as finding where you may be able to reduce expenditure.”

Research from Adecco Group also shows that more than four in 10 workers are looking for second jobs as costs continue to soar, with 63% saying their pay is not enough to cover their bills for eating and heating.  Almost half of those polled are thinking of looking for better paid jobs in the next 12 months, with many expecting to find one within six months due to the high number of vacancies.

Meanwhile, worries about existing jobs are increasing. New research from Citation has found SMEs are starting to brace for widespread redundancies as inflation continues to surge and worries about an incoming recession grow. The employment expert, which specialises in SME advice, saw a 184% increase from June to July in the number of inbound queries from employers looking for advice around redundancies.

Ways to help manage your finances

Royal London has some tips on how to manage your finances.

1.Don’t bury your head in the sand, ask for help if you’re struggling with your energy bills

Nearly three quarters (72%) of UK adults haven’t approached anyone for help with the cost of living crisis. If you’re finding it hard to pay your energy bills, contact your energy provider to discuss ways you can pay them. They should agree a payment plan with you, which takes into account your current income and what you owe. Contact Citizens Advice if you can’t agree a plan.

2. Find out where your money’s going

Start by finding out where your money’s being spent. It sounds obvious, but we may not realise exactly how much we’re spending each month – and what we’re spending it on – until it’s laid out in front of us.

Get your last three bank statements and credit card bills (or check online) and spend some time going through them, highlighting any areas where you think you’re spending money unnecessarily or spending too much. This could be on anything from a top of the range broadband package that you don’t need, to a mobile phone contract where you’re paying for data you don’t use.

Every month money is wasted on unused subscriptions, with gym memberships being the most common example.

3. Council Tax

Depending on your circumstances and who is living with you, you may qualify for a council tax discount. For example, you can get a 25% discount if you’re the only adult living in the property (or if the other adult is, for example, a full-time student or has severe dementia). Find out what discounts are offered by your local council at GOV.UK.

People in Northern Ireland pay rates rather than Council Tax and different rules apply.

4. Check if you’re entitled to state benefits

Billions of pounds of state benefits go unclaimed each year, and you could be missing out. The national charity Turn2us has a free and confidential benefits calculator on its website (https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/), which can help you work out which means-tested benefits you’re entitled to. It also has a grant search tool (https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk/) for information on grants you may be able to apply for.

5. Get help with unmanageable debts

If you are struggling to pay for the essentials, you are using one credit card to pay off another, or your debts are causing you worry, then contact a debt advice charity, such as StepChange or National Debtline. They will be able to give you help with your debts, free of charge.



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