Rise of the Entrepreneurial Retail Side Hustle: Exploring what Frontline Employees Want and what Employers Think They Want

Project dates: 2022 - Ongoing

Why is this important?

Side hustles, income-generating work performed alongside full-time jobs, are increasingly common as the gig economy provides opportunities for employees to perform supplementary work (Sessions, Nahrgang, Vaulont, Williams & Bartels, 2021). The global pandemic has generated a surge in start-ups, with side hustle activity nearly doubling during COVID-19, inducing a 72% increase in the number of side hustles worldwide (Forbes, 2021). Additionally, a recent survey shows that nearly half of Australians (48%) either have or are planning to start a side hustle (ING, 2021).

Despite this rise, the voices of frontline employees are largely missing from academic and practice discourse. For instance, little is known about how employers perceive side hustle activity although nascent research shows that they are often not well received by employers, who often consider them a distraction from full-time work. This is despite research signalling that flexible work arrangements for employees may have far-reaching effects beyond individual well-being and talent retention. As such, the project aims to:

  • (a) Identify the preferences, desires and motivations of employees undertaking a side hustle.
  • (b) Identify the perceptions and attitudes of retail employers about employees undertaking a side hustle.


What we aim to do

To examine the side hustle phenomenon, the project uses quantitative, survey methodology to assess employee and employer perspectives to assess prevalence and key perceptions of side hustle activity.

Chief Investigators