What Is Career Hoarding?

The shift to remote work has created added flexibility and independence among workers, and many are increasingly looking for side gigs to supplement their incomes and stimulate their interests and passions.

This trend has contributed to what’s being called “career hoarding,” according to an article in Fortune by Tessa West. So, what does that mean exactly?

Working For Multiple Employers a Growing Trend

“Career hoarders don’t work extra jobs because they have to, they do it because they want to,” West explains. “The fastest-growing population of multiple job holders is college-educated careerists who already hold high-earning jobs. These aren’t just younger workers: Soon-to-be retired people are among the crowd.”

Why would someone want to take on a new job if they don’t need the money? West suggests the reason has to do with status and a new approach to career development. “There’s been a cultural shift in how the well-to-do define what a ‘successful career’ looks like,” she writes.

Three or more decades ago, West says, the route to the top involved a series of steps including various raises and promotions until people reached the pinnacle of their careers—and then retired. Today, though, she says: “that climb to the top looks much windier.”

The Changing Structure of Careers

In today’s workforce, employees face a number of detours along the way to retirement. The pandemic also has opened up new ideas and new opportunities—”like starting a business, or seeking out new ‘growth opportunities.’ In some cases, cluttering one’s life with extra side gigs is just a sign of power and influence.”

Employers need to be aware of this trend and consider how key staff serving multiple masters may impact their performance. In the current labor market, it’s probably not feasible for most employers to ban side gigs entirely—they’re too common, and career hoarding employees generally simply have too many options to cow tow to employer mandates. But that doesn’t mean employers can’t have policies about when staff must be available, the use of company equipment and resources and other protections to ensure they’re getting adequate labor from staff and that the lines between jobs doesn’t get too blurred.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.