These are the types of side hustles middle-class South Africans are turning to

A growing number of middle-class South Africans are looking for a second income stream to get through the month, data from the Momentum/Unisa Household Index shows.

The index shows that an estimated 14% of households obtain an additional income from a side hustle. The majority (88%) of these households have one side hustle, while 12% have two or more.

Around a quarter (24%) who said that they have side businesses are in households with an annual income of between R30,301 to R52,900. Within income groups, higher-earning households tend to be somewhat proactive when it comes to a side business – a third (32%) of households that earn between R614,401 and R863,900 per annum have a side business, the data showed.

The most popular side hustles 

The report noted that most side hustles can be categorised into two groups. A vast majority fall into the trade, catering and accommodation industry, with many entrepreneurs selling produce or food – such as atchar, eggs, baked goods from their home or at the office – or clothing, jewellery, cosmetics, or similar products.

The second is personal services such as beauty salons, nail technicians, mechanics, garden, and maintenance services.

Data from research company BrandMapp in September shows a clear shift by South Africa’s middle-class towards starting a side hustle or second job.

The group refers to these South Africans as ‘slashers’ – a term that refers to people wearing multiple hats when it comes to work, in the vein of ‘I’m an actor/writer/director’.

BrandMapp’s data showed that 63% of middle-class South Africans said they had no sources of revenue other than their main job in 2019. However, as the country entered lockdown this dropped to 59%, and a year later that dropped to 54%.

“If you look at the people reporting that they now have their own small business, are involved in other economic activities, have a home industry or a second job that’s different from their main work, we find 35% of middle-class South Africans are today’s real slashers,” said BrandMapp’s director of storytelling, Brandon de Kock.

“Middle-income earners are increasingly working multiple jobs to make ends meet, no longer able to rely on just their salary.”

The group’s data also shows a direct correlation between the job satisfaction of middle-class South Africans and the size of the business that they work in.

“Almost 50% of South Africans working solo love their work, and as the business gets bigger, there’s a steady decline in loving how you make your living, with just 29% of people working in big corporations agreeing with the sentiment – a proof point that being a number isn’t very life-affirming,” said de Kock.

Data collected by BusinessTech also reflected that South Africans are looking at additional side businesses to help generate extra income.

In May, a poll of nearly 3,000 BusinessTech readers showed that 18% of South Africans had a side business. This increased to 24% of readers in a similar survey of readers in October.


Read: Here are your chances of employment in South Africa – based on your level of education

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These are the types of side hustles middle-class South Africans are turning to