Moonlighting on the Rise

Moonlighting on the RiseMoonlighting on the Rise

People across the world are moonlighting for all kinds of reasons. In some cases, it is because they cannot find full-time or satisfactory employment or earn a good income. In others, it is to exercise a talent, build new skills or try out a new field of work.

But in most cases the second job is to supplement one’s income, since even professionals working for fixed-wages can be cash-strapped in tough economic times.

According to a recent report by the Labor Ministry, in 2013, more than 400,000 Iranians (2% of the employed population of 23 million at the time) held more than two jobs, Fararu news website reported.

However, figures from the Statistical Center of Iran estimate the number at a little below eight million (or 34%), including those working one job but over 49 hours per week, thus being categorized as working more than one full-time job. The official work time in Iran is 48 hours a week.

Second jobs are showing a growing trend. While some attribute the increasing rate to dissatisfaction with the first job and inadequate salary slabs, many others hold the job market responsible.

Out of the 400,000, nearly 15% were employed by the public sector, 19.4% by the private sector, and 65.6% were employed in other sectors as independent workers, employers, or care workers.

Analysts say a balance between income, inflation rate and job stability can help reduce the number of people taking up a second job.

Although multiple jobs may boost a family’s economic status, it leaves adverse effects on productivity, physical and psychological health, and undermines interaction with family members.

  Side Effects

Physical exhaustion or burnout is the first and worst side effect of working more than one job. Secretary-General of the High Labor Council, Rahmatollah Pourmousa, says a large part of accidents at the workplace are fatigue-related.

“In any struggling economy when many are dealing with cutbacks in hours or pay, it’s not unusual to find people who need to work more than one job,” says economist Mike Montgomery with the IHS Global Insight.

“One common justification for employing people who are already working, is that their expertise is necessary for the job,” says Hadi Abavi, spokesman of Iran’s Labor Unions’ High Center. “Given the unemployment crisis in the country it is obvious that we should address the matter.”

There are 26 million (10.8%) unemployed in Iran at present. The more the number of people taking up a second or third job, the faster the unemployment rate spirals. While job market experts usually associate moonlighting with high expenses and low incomes, the phenomenon is also creating a vicious circle that is expanding the dole queues and leading to a decline in the purchasing power.


Having more than one job is not a phenomenon unique to Iran. The trend is fast surging worldwide. According to latest US data, roughly 5% of the US working population held more than one job in 2012.

The Evening Standard reports that 150,000 Londoners are working two jobs, a figure that’s risen 50% over the past decade.

Studies by the Statistical Center of Iran show that at least 30% of the total Iranian workforce of 24.5 million, are currently working two, and at times three jobs (more than 8 hours a day) to make ends meet.

Iran has long been struggling with joblessness due to a whole set of reasons, namely a dysfunctional economy, the nuclear-related sanctions, increasing population, the command economy, visible weakness of the private sector and little, if any, help for the small and medium enterprises that in most countries are major employers both in the urban a rural regions.