Glasgow tops UK poll of young people embracing their side hustles 

Gemma Cairney

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GLASGOW’S young people are leading the way in the UK in terms side hustles, with more than 43% of 20- to 35-year-olds, having an existing side hustle, or an occupation that is undertaken in addition to their regular employment, well above the national average of 37%.

The findings are part of a UK survey of 1500 young people commissioned by The Open University (OU). The study also found that despite the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic, accompanied with soaring business and living costs, young Glaswegians are undeterred, with almost half (47%), keen to start up their own business in the next few years, compared to just 41% across the rest of the UK. 

However, Glasgow did fall short when it came to proactively taking the next step and seeking the necessary training and qualifications to help kick start their dream career. While young Glaswegians are very keen for a career change by retraining in something completely different to their current role (42% compared to 36% national average), only 29% of those surveyed admitted they were likely to upskill themselves, compared the national average of 39%.

To help inspire these young would-be entrepreneurs, showing them the realities of a new career, alongside potential solutions to the problems they may encounter, The OU is launching an ‘Unlock Your Inner Boss LIVE’ challenge broadcast across its social channels on Wednesday 25th May.  

The interactive session will see The OU put TV and Radio presenter Gemma Cairney through her paces at the helm of a new business for the day.  Alongside the online viewers who will be asked to contribute and vote on Gemma’s business decisions, she’ll have experts and entrepreneurs on hand to help out, many of whom have grown their original side hustle into successful business careers. 

Marie Hendry, Depute Director at the Open University in Scotland said:

“It’s great to see the positive entrepreneurial attitude that young people in Glasgow have. Lots of young people know they have the potential to do bigger and better things but as the survey demonstrates, they’re unsure how to access their dream job. We hope the OU can be the solution to the problems that some of the younger generations are facing, flexible studying hours give OU students the ability to ‘earn while they learn’ and offer a chance to upskill to land their dream job whilst pursuing a business idea at the same time.”

Gemma Cairney, host of the OU’s ‘Unlock Your Inner Boss’ LIVE challenge said:

“I’m thrilled to be taking part in the OU’s ‘Unlock Your Inner Boss’ LIVE challenge and be put through my paces, as my own boss in a new ‘business’. It’s brilliant to see that young people today have such positive mindsets about feeling entrepreneurial – they clearly want to take control of their careers and so many are planning their own side hustles. Hopefully watching me in the UYIB challenge will show that everyone is capable of achieving their dream job, given the right mindset and support. I’ve always considered myself to have an entrepreneurial mindset and I can’t wait to see what challenges the day has to offer!”

One of the experts supporting Gemma on her challenge is David McIntosh, an Apprentice Management Consultant and Chair of the UK Social Mobility Network at KPMG who studied with the OU. In his spare time, David also hosts his own successful business podcast “The Development by David Podcast” from his hometown, Prestwick.

Talking about the Unlock Your Inner Boss LIVE, David McIntosh said:

“This is set to be a fun, but also pretty insightful session covering a wide range of business challenges from leadership and efficiency to technology, that will genuinely help people looking to identify their knowledge gaps and areas they need to upskill to move their career ambitions forward.  As someone who kickstarted my career with an OU accountancy qualification out of high school, I appreciate the critical role self-development can play in shaping your career. It’s something I am just as passionate about and advocate today.”

Tune in to The Open University’s Unlock Your Inner Boss LIVE- The CEO Challenge from 11am on the 25th May and watch Gemma tackle the challenge live on Facebook, Linkedin or YouTube #OUInnerBoss.

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