Two-fifths of key workers have taken on a side hustle or overtime to make ends meet

3rd May 2023

Two-fifths (43%) of key workers in the UK have been forced to take on additional part-time work on top of their full time role, or work extra overtime shifts to make ends meet, new research from responsible lender, Creditspring, shows.

The data shows significantly higher levels of financial vulnerability among key workers, with nearly half (47%) saying an unexpected expense of £100 would send them over the edge, compared to 25% among the general population*.

It is evident that many key workers are experiencing the cost of living crisis more acutely than the general population, and are almost twice as likely to be ‘terrified’ about their financial future (55% for key workers vs. 29% among the general population).

The findings come as inflation hits 10.4% in the UK, and the value of real wages fell by 2.4%, putting extreme pressure on household finances across the country. With inflation where it is, nearly half (45%) of key workers say that they are unable to provide adequate financial support to their families.

For many, falling back on savings is not an option and they are turning to borrowing to get by. A third (34%) of key workers have already run out of savings and are now reliant on credit to make ends meet. This compares to 19% among the general population.

Concerningly, the research shows that many are using short-term, high-cost credit options, with a quarter (26%) using this type of borrowing in the past three months (compared to 14% for non-key workers). This type of credit – which is often used by “near prime” borrowers whose credit profiles can exclude them from mainstream borrowing – comes with far higher risk than traditional borrowing, including debt spirals that can be hard to escape.

Neil Kadagathur, CEO and Co-Founder of Creditspring said “In any financial situation, there comes a breaking point, and this research shows that many key workers are now reaching this point. No one should have to take on multiple jobs or work huge numbers of extra shifts on top of a full time role just to pay the bills each month, especially not our nation’s key workers who do some of the most difficult, challenging work this country has to offer.”

“It is hugely concerning that many are being forced to turn to high-cost, short-term credit as this can signal the start of debt spirals that are notoriously hard to escape. This should not, and must not, be the only place that these financially vulnerable individuals can turn to access credit. As an industry, we must do better to support key workers through the cost of living crisis by ensuring they are able to access safe, affordable forms of credit that build their long-term financial stability, rather than ravage it.”