Quiet Hiring, A Disconnect, Side Hustle & Phishing Scams, Figuratively Speaking

Photo By Mikhail Nilov

Economic turbulence, with rising costs and a deepening sense of financial security, is fueling both frustration and survival tactics among businesses, employers and employees alike. Not to be outdone, scammers are taking advantage of the times to ramp up their own operations.

TNJ.com editors pulled together statistics from various sources on the emerging landscape in business, the job market, side hustling, and phishing scams at the dawn of 2023.

Quiet hiring

“Quiet hiring” is the newly coined term for the practice of hiring contract workers or asking existing employees to take on new or additional tasks. ResumeBuilder.com commissioned a survey to find out the who, what, why and when of this practice that seems to be growing as the economy remains mired in uncertainty.

In fact, says Stacie Holler, ResumeBuider.com’s chief career advisor, “the practice of hiring contract workers has been used to weather economic conditions for over 50 years. It gives a company a more nimble workforce without the impact of layoffs.”

The survey was conducted online on January 11 by Pollfish. A total of 1,000 U.S. business leaders at companies with at least 50 employees were surveyed. Figuratively speaking, findings include the following:

* Percent of companies that had layoffs in the previous 3 months: 57;

* Percent that planned to lay off employees in the following six months: 56;

* Percent of companies with recent layoffs that were hiring contractors to replace laid-off workers: 37;

* Percent of business leaders who said they were hiring contractors to, at least in part, save money: 71;

* Percent of companies that moved full-time employees to contract positions in the previous three months: 53;

* Percent that asked employees to move from full-time to part-time in the previous three months: 37;

* Percent of business leaders who said in the next six months full-time employees will be asked to move to a contract position: 52;

* Percent who said employees will be asked to go from full-time to part-time: 40;

* Percent of businesses in the previous three months that asked employees to take on new roles within the organization: 62;

* Percent of these businesses that did not offer these employees additional training: 10;

* Percent of these employees that were not given additional compensation: 11;

* Percent of companies that in the previous three months asked employees to take on additional work: 66

* Percent that were having employees do 25 percent more than their normal workload: 48;

* Percent that doubled their employees’ workloads: 5;

* Percent of companies that said workers did not receive additional compensation for additional work: 14;

* Percent of business leaders who said their organizations had cut salaries for at least some employees in the previous three months: 34;

Job market “disconnect”

On the job market front, employers and workers alike are frustrated.

In a TalentTrust survey of over 2,500 executives of middle-market companies, just 16 percent of executives said they could attract and retain the right talent to grow their business in a timely manner. And if they did find the right people, the executives said, it took longer and cost more than it should.

According to ResumeBuilder.com, a key source of the job market frustration is the reluctance by employers to respond to workers’ shifting priorities. Last June, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 job seekers and 1,000 employers and found “a disconnect” in what employees are looking for, and what employers are offering.

Here are some of its findings, figuratively speaking.

* Percent of job seekers who said finding a new job was more difficult than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic: 45;

* Percent of employers who said hiring was tougher in 2022: 44;

* While job seekers listed “flexible schedules” as their #1 priority, percent of employers who gave workers the option to create their own schedules: 33;

* Percent of job hunters who wanted new jobs with higher pay: 59;

* Percent of employers who raised salaries: 40;

* While workers continue to seek jobs with good health insurance and retirement benefits, the number of employers who started offering or who improved benefits in those areas: about 1 in 5.

Side hustle boom

One response to this “disconnect” is the growing popularity of the side hustle, especially among millennials, the generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s.

A survey of 2,000 workers by the freelancing platform Fiverr shows 73 percent of Americans plan to start a side hustle in 2023. Indeed, against a backdrop of economic unrest and financial insecurity, the side-hustle promise of flexibility, job satisfaction and increased earning potential is especially appealing.

A 2022 report on the rising side hustle boom from Zapier, a leading automation platform, shows millennials leading as side hustle starters. The report, titled Zapier’s Side Hustle Data Report, is based on a survey conducted online for Zapier in May 2022 among 2,032 U.S. adults 18 years and older. It found:

* Percent of Americans who already have a side hustle: 40;

* Percent of millennials who said they already partake in some form of side hustle: 61;

* Number of hours Americans who have a side hustle spend on average per week on working their side hustle: 13.4;

* Percent who spend less than two hours a week: 44;

* Number of hours millennials spend per week on their side hustle: 20+;

* Percent of Generation Zers (18- to 25-year-olds) who spend less than 10 hours per week on their side hustle: 56;

*  Percent of survey respondents who started, or planned to start a side hustle in 2022: 36, against 24 percent who said the same about 2021;

* Average amount Americans with a side hustle make a year: $12,689;

* Percent who say they make $15,000 or more annually: 17.

Phishing scams

Phishing is a cybercrime wherein criminals use emails, text messages, telephone calls, or other hacking tactics to obtain information they then use to directly steal from the companies or individuals they target. The Federal Communications Commission says the practice has been on the rise since the COVID -19 pandemic.

In a 2019 article for Cybercrime Magazine, Robert Johnson, III, president and CEO at security, integrity and compliance software specialists Cimcor Inc., reported that 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or cyber attack.

A survey of 1,659 executives and HR managers at small and medium-sized companies, commissioned by PasswordManager, found the following:

* Percent of small, medium-size businesses that fell prey to phishing scams in 2022: 60

* Percent of victims that lost $100,000+ to scammers: Nearly 40;

* Portion of victims who lost customers due to phishing scams: More than one-third

* Percent of victims who had their data stolen: 44;

* Percent who ranked email phishing the No.1 scam: 59;

* Percent who ranked voice phishing: 42;

* Percent who ranked scammers impersonating a company executive to ask employees for money: 35;

* Percent of victims who said they had a training program in place to teach employees about phishing: 80;

* Percent of respondents who said non-management employees were most commonly targeted by scams: 39;

* Percent who said managers: 39;

* Percent who said executives: 38;

* Percent who said HR staff: 36.