Meet the typical overemployed worker: A male millennial making six figures annually across multiple tech jobs — who's fighting burnout for the extra income

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Meet the typical overemployed worker: A male millennial making six figures annually across multiple tech jobs — who's fighting burnout for the extra income
The typical remote worker is experiencing some burnout but continues to secretly juggle multiple jobs for the extra money and job security. Getty Images
  • Some "overemployed" workers are secretly working multiple remote jobs.
  • Overemployed workers are typically male, in tech or IT roles, and earn six figures in combined income.
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The rise of remote work in recent years has helped fuel the growth of a unique category of worker: the overemployed.

Over the past year, Business Insider has spoken with roughly 10 people who have secretly worked multiple remote jobs — and earned a combined annual pay as high as $820,000.

Who are these overemployed workers? They're likely to be men, earning well over six figures, working in tech or IT roles, and trying to keep it up as long as possible, according to Business Insider's reporting.

Under certain circumstances, some companies are OK with employees taking on extra work. But doing so without approval could violate some employment contracts and be a fireable offense.

It's difficult to estimate how many total people are overemployed. There are nearly 300,000 members of the subreddit r/overemployed — where workers share tips and advice. But it's unlikely that all 300,000 are actually job jugglers.

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As of January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that roughly 416,000 Americans were working two full-time jobs at the same time, but the majority of these were likely blue-collar workers.

Perhaps adding to the uncertainty is that there are different definitions of overemployment. The St. Louis Fed, for instance, defines it as anyone with a full-time job who has worked additional hours for another employer — rather than specifically working multiple jobs in secret.

Regardless of their exact numbers, the overemployed community has sparked a conversation among some workplace experts, managers, and people with only one job about if and when workers double-dipping is a problem.

Overemployed workers tend to be male millennials in tech or IT jobs

Nearly all of the overemployed workers Business Insider has spoken with have been men.

This could be because most of these people worked in the IT and tech industries, where fewer women are employed. Women account for 23% of tech employment in the US, according to WomenTech Network, a global organization that strives to increase diversity in the tech industry.

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The amount of overemployed workers in IT and tech could be because there are more remote roles in these industries — a key prerequisite for most job-jugglers. For some workers, IT and tech roles offer the flexibility that makes overemployment possible.

"In the IT world, we never really work a full 40 hours a week," a former overemployed worker previously told BI.

Many of the overemployed workers BI spoke with were millennials, but some Gen Zers and Gen Xers are job juggling as well. The average age of multiple jobholders is 42, per the St. Louis Fed.

The typical overemployed worker is making between $100,000 and $500,000 across up to four jobs

For most overemployed workers, job juggling isn't worth the stress unless they're very well compensated.

That's why nearly all the job jugglers BI spoke with earned at least six figures annually. People with more jobs and more experience tended to earn more.

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One Gen Zer is set to make $90,000 this year across two jobs, while another earned $144,000 across two roles. One millennial is set to earn over $250,000 this year across two jobs, while another made over $300,000 across two roles. One Gen Xer earned over $300,000 across three jobs, while another made $344,000 across three roles.

In rare instances, overemployment can be even more lucrative. One millennial earned over $500,000 across four non-simultaneous jobs, while another worker earned over $820,000 across three roles.

The typical overemployed worker is a bit burned out but is carrying on for the financial benefits and job security

For many of the overemployed BI spoke with, working multiple jobs doesn't require working double the hours. Still, the extra work from job juggling — in addition to the stress of keeping it a secret — can take a toll.

That said, many overemployed workers hang on to their jobs as long as possible. That's because the additional income is just too hard to walk away from.

One Gen Xer used the extra money to pay off his mortgage and hopes to send his kids to college debt-free. Others said they hoped overemployment would make it possible for them to retire early or become a homeowner someday.

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The extra income doesn't only help workers grow their savings and meet expenses — it provides them with an unusual level of job security. As some tech companies lay off workers, this has become increasingly important.

Last fall, the Gen Xer who paid off his mortgage learned that he was laid off from two of his three jobs — he said there were widespread layoffs at both of his employers.

His overemployment left him in a better position than most of his co-workers.

"It's huge that I still have this third job," he previously told BI.

Are you working multiple remote jobs at the same time and willing to discuss details about your pay and schedule? If so, reach out to this reporter at jzinkula@insider.com.

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