Are Employees Working More Jobs for No Pay?

by Staff - Original publish date: March 10, 2014

Doing More With Less

Many Americans work more than one job – either because they want to or because they have to make ends meet. But when we asked more than 800 people if they worked multiple jobs, we meant something a little different.

As part of our ongoing effort to keep our finger on the pulse of the mindset of American workers, we wanted to determine if employees are being asked to do more these days. With most companies still recovering from the recession and subsequent layoffs, the workers who survived were asked to do more than ever. And even though hiring has improved in many places, we wanted to specifically ask people in the trenches if they feel they’re doing more than their job description entails.

Check out the results and see if people are wearing more hats than usual, and what that means regarding job performance.

Most People Perform Extra Duties

One thing was made abundantly clear, and that is the majority of respondents do a lot more than what’s in their job descriptions.

A whopping 88% of people said they feel they are working multiple jobs despite only being paid for one. As stated previously, this undoubtedly occurs due to staff reductions and hiring freezes, as companies had to do more with fewer employees. If hiring bounces back will this number fall? Hopefully we’ll see.

Job Performance Is Negatively Impacted

So we know most people wear many hats and go above and beyond the call of duty. But is that a bad thing?

We asked people if they feel wearing so many additional hats negatively impacted their job performance, and the short answer is definitely. Nearly two-thirds, 63%, of those surveyed said their work suffers because they are asked to perform more tasks that are outside of their job descriptions.

That’s a lot of unhappy employees, and miserable workers tend not to produce compared to those who are satisfied.

What Is Causing This Phenomenon?

When we asked people why they are saddled with multiple jobs despite receiving only the paycheck for the job for which they were hired, most people said it’s because they’re indispensable.

“The business needs me” was the top answer, with 27% of respondents answering so. Layoffs were the next reason at 22%. Thirteen percent of people said they voluntarily sought out additional responsibilities, and another 13% said they do more because their lazy coworkers don’t do their own jobs.

Eleven percent admitted they work extra because they have a difficult time saying no, while 4% blamed it on a vindictive boss.

"I Have 8 Different Bosses"

Most people have a love/hate relationship with the cult classic Office Space. They love it because it’s funny, and they hate it because it’s frustratingly accurate.

Remember when Peter keeps getting interrupted by his eight different bosses, who all felt the need to tell him he was screwing up the TPS reports? Well, 48% of people surveyed said they feel frustrated because they directly report to more than one supervisor.

Too many Lumberghs makes for unhappy employees.

Distracted = Unproductive

It’s no wonder that with employees doing so much extra work, they’re also doubly distracted.

Of those surveyed, 80% said they are routinely interrupted during the workday to the point it has a noticeable detrimental effect on their output and productivity. The main culprit? Forty-two percent of people surveyed said there are just too many meetings during the day.

The Age of Digital Distractions

Laptops, tablets, phones – there are countless ways for numerous gadgets to distract us while working. In fact, 41% of respondents said they routinely have to unplug from various technologies (email, instant message, phones, etc) just to get their work done.

And it appears the age of workers plays a huge role in mitigating distractions as well as the ability to wear many hats.

Among the respondents who said their job performance suffers because of taking on additional job responsibilities, younger workers deal much better than their older colleagues. Fifty-five percent of workers age 18-25 said they are negatively impacted, while 71% of employees 60 and over have issues.

When it comes to being distracted by technology, older workers again have more difficulty with 44% of people 60 and older saying they are bothered by the constant barrage of email, texts, and IMs, compared to just 31% of employees ages 18-32 having to unplug.

How to Get Paid for All Your Work

We might not be able to get your boss(es) to stop making you do everyone else's jobs, but can help you get paid fairly what you do.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.