Dutch multi-jobbers are juggling gigs ‘for the fun of it’

Dutch multi-jobbers are juggling gigs ‘for the fun of it’

The number of people working two or more jobs is on the rise in the Netherlands. But in most cases, juggling jobs is a choice rather than a necessity. That sets Dutch multi-jobbers apart from multiple job workers in the United States, professor of labor market studies Ton Wilthagen says.

A growing number of Dutch workers have multiple jobs, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported on Wednesday. Ton Wilthagen, professor of labor market studies at Tilburg University, believes the rise of multi-jobbers is connected to the growing number of freelance workers, known as ‘zzp’ers’ in the Netherlands. For them, having a part-time job on the side can bring significant financial benefits and security.

Ton Wilthagen

Ton Wilthagen

This seems very America-like. “In America, someone may work in a store during the day and have a cleaning job at night, just to make ends meet”, Ton Wilthagen told Algemeen Dagblad.

But according to Wilthagen, the situation in the Netherlands is different. “In most cases, Dutch workers don’t need those two jobs.” He sees a big group of multi-jobbers who are balancing gigs for a different reason: because they enjoy it. Only one-fifth of multiple job holders is juggling gigs out of financial need, a 2015 report shows.

Complicated variety

What motivates many multi-jobbers in the Netherlands is the variety that comes with having a side job. According to Wilthagen, having more than one career offers the possibility to develop different skills and abilities. “You learn more if you’re not always doing the same thing.” But juggling jobs can also be difficult: “The disadvantages are mostly connected to planning. You have extra travel time, two Christmas dinners with your colleagues, and twice as many meetings. That can affect your private life, because it’s complicated.”

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