How to make money: Aussies earning double by working two full-time roles

“I literally went from worrying about how I was ever going to save for a deposit, to taking home almost twice as much after tax as I was making in my previous role,” explains Samuel*, who, for reasons that will soon become obvious, has chosen not to use his real name for this piece.

Samuel works in IT management, and while his workload of “about 55 hours per week” might sound slightly higher than the average full time employee is logging, he’s actually working two full-time positions, without either of his employers being aware of the other.

“I have two laptops, and I’m usually logged on at the same time,” he told “Because I am fully remote, I’m able to perform both roles simultaneously, and deliver over and above on both sets of KPIs.”

Samuel’s situation (which sees him earning just shy of $250,000 per year) is a growing trend, according to HR software company Employment Hero’s 2022 Remote Work Report.

The survey found more than half of knowledge workers surveyed across four regions have a secondary income stream — 51 per cent in Australia, 51 per cent in New Zealand, 56 per cent in Singapore and 66 per cent in Malaysia.

And while the concept of a “side hustle” is well accepted in Australia, Employment Hero says a small but not insignificant portion of these people are actually working two full-time jobs at the same time, in an “open secret” known as “overemployment”.

“Overemployment, also known as moonlighting, refers to individuals that work two or more full-time jobs without their employers finding out about the others,” explains a spokesperson for the company.

“It’s much more common in fully remote roles, and task-based jobs such as software development or computer programming.”

“In the privacy of their home offices, employees can work as flexibly as they want to, jumping in and out of meetings, declining meetings, or scheduling multiple interviews with other companies — all under the radar.”

Judging by the overemployed subreddit (and its ever-increasing 184,000 members), along with – an online community offering advice, job-search templates and hacks for employees looking to take the plunge into overemployment, last year’s “great resignation” has given way to something more tantalising: a way for employees to make serious cash by double-dipping, all in the same 9-to-5 window the rest of us have.

Overemployed workers typically have a range of tricks up their sleeves to avoid detection, including cleverly scheduling meetings apart from each other, keeping two separate laptops to ensure they never accidentally email the wrong information to the wrong employer, and choosing roles that allow them to work independently on quantifiable deliverables for organisations large enough to let them fly under the radar.

SEO expert Khanh*, told he’s been working two full-time jobs for the past few years.

He juggles a full time role as Head of Search at a major e-commerce beauty platform with his second job, an SEO business with clients ranging from weight loss telehealth, and tailor services to psychologist clinics.

“No one knows about my double life,” he confides. “It’s not that I’m being sneaky or anything, but I like to keep things separate. It’s a bit like having fries and a milkshake on the same plate – both awesome, but better enjoyed one at a time.”

Of course, the risks involved in working two jobs at the same time are significant: credit reporting agency Equifax recently made headlines for using their own software to identify and then fire 24 employees with secret second jobs, not to mention the ramifications of getting caught.

Many proponents of the overemployment movement also advise factoring in a higher tax threshold for each consecutive job a person has, to make sure employees don’t receive a nasty surprise at tax time.

“The thing is, wages have stagnated for decades now,” says Samuel, “everything is getting more and more expensive, and if you can adequately perform two roles at the same time, well enough that no one is picking up on it, then why shouldn’t we be able to access the level of financial freedom available to us?”

*Names have been changed

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