Moonlighting: A Challenge For HR Manager

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on October 09, 2015

Traditionally the term Moonlighting refers to earn extra money. For example a person who is a teacher of a school during the day but runs a boutique in evening. Although many people moonlight to earn extra money, some do this to enhance their skill in different fields; some adopt it to fight boredom. Moonlighting reasons may very but result is fatigue. In general, moonlighting is having a second job, typically secretly at night in addition to ones regular employment which does not have to relate to main job.

Moonlighting is defined as an employee’s propensity to work with two different companies at the same time. To work in both the companies they divide their work on the basis of day and night.

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Moonlighting is a situation which arises in the organization dur to employee dissatisfaction from present wages and salary structure. Employees feel exploited by the employer and believe that employer enjoys the increased profits. Moonlighting by employees almost effect all the functions of HR management .It is a challenge to the personnel manager because mostly moonlighting effect negatively.

Reasons for Moonlighting

Today most of the employees are looking for moonlighting for;

1. Extra income

2. Proving their capabilities in different job profiles

3. Non recognition by employers

4. Utilizing spare time

Types of Moonlighting

Moonlighting can be divided in four different moons, which are

1. Blue Moonlighting

With the performance appraisal, management respond positively to the employees demand and give hike in wages and benefits but some employees do not get satisfied with the level of wages and benefits and want to go for second job for additional income but due to their inabilities their efforts do not bring any fruit . Such type of failure in efforts is called Blue Moonlighting.

2. Quarter Moonlighting

when an employee is not satisfied with his current salary and searches a part time job in which he works after his regular job for extra income this is known as Quarter Moonlighting.

3. Half Moonlighting

Many employees tend to spend more than what they earn, this sort of employees are fond of luxurious life and also save a sufficient amount of money for future and spend 50% of their time in part time job. This is called Half Moonlighting.

4. Full Moonlighting

when employees in some occupation find free time or employees feel that their income is negligible compared to their expectations or friends are earning huge money than them and friends with lower qualifications are enjoying better status in society. These sort of employees develop Their own business and keep on staying with their regular job for woes time .But their social status determined by second occupation is known as Full Moonlighting.

Effects of Moonlighting

Mostly the effect of moonlighting is negative and a great challenge for HR Manager because with changing circumstances of economy and employee’s values and expectations number of moonlighting employees will go on increasing trend. It also affects HR Development because employees will not take interest in Human Resource Development Programmes as planned by organization. Moonlighting also effect relations adversely between the superior and subordinate because employee who demand for hike in wages and management will not accept the demand of the employees. It will also be a great challenge for HR Managers in motivating the moonlighting and non moonlighting employees due to varying values, goals and expectations.

Arguments in Favor or Against Moonlighting

Moonlighting has a two way effect.

Firstly, it is not acceptable by employer on following grounds

1. Fatigue: It is a mental state of being tired and weak. Often mental and physical fatigue exists together - if a person is physically exhausted for long period he will be mentally tired. In moonlighting worker being employed in two or more companies feel mentally and physically tired and exhausted. It affects his performance.

2. Transportation Hurdles : Transportation become main hurdle for moonlighters it become very messy to be in time at both work places. So transportation glitches lead to hasty performance which may cause loss to any of the two workplaces.

3. Lack of sleep Due to dual job: Employee cannot take appropriate sleep and it may create health hazards in long run

4. Poor attentiveness: One person has to perform various activities because of dual job so it can create low level of attention and poor distraction. It can lead to memory lapse and weak recollection of events and ultimately it affects organization.`

5. Hustling and Juggling in multiple jobs: Because of his doubling in jobs employee accomplish his task in hustling and juggling way because multiple jobs he has to perform daily. This position is not good for organization.

6. Mediocre performance: The accomplishment of given task against preset known standard of accuracy, completeness, cost and speed is performance. But moonlighter is not able to fulfill their obligation towards the organization.

In nut shell from employer point of view moonlighters are not present, prompt and prepared at the organization’s disposal.

Secondly, it is acceptable by employer due to following factors.

1. Employee learns new skills: Moonlighters perform dual job in different environment so they learn new skills and are able to think unconventionally or from a new perspective and can create advantage to organization.

2. Retaining Employees: Employer accept their second job whole heartedly so employee feel comfortable in the organization and he also feel satisfactory due to extra earning from second job . In this way his tendency to leave their organization is reduced.

3. Less burden of benefits: As they are regular somewhere else so they are less qualify for benefits like medical, insurance or retirement benefits.

4. Affordable: Hiring moonlighter is affordable because no formalities of interview or hiring arrangements has to be arranged and can be occupied according to need .Moreover factory act provisions does not implement because they are part time jobbers.

5. To meet seasonal requirement: As moonlighters are affordable for short term and unusual projects like month and inventory or seasonal requirement etc.

Challenges Faced By HR Managers

In this competitive era, Global environment and economy are changing very rapidly. HRM practices are also taking its new shape and dimensions. In the changing era of economy employees are not concerned only about their professional existence but also their economic status too. Due to this reason culture of extra work with extra pay has developed and no doubt this extra work will run along with primary job. So, it is a great challenge now a days that HR Managers facing. The challenge is now ‘what to do?’ whether counsel the employee to support economically and not allow for moonlighting or tackling employees to go for another job without interrupting the primary one.

Policies for Facing Challenges

Organizations cannot support economically due to limited resources. So, with changing scenario of Social and economic system, HR Manager has to accept with moonlighting, but can form such policies so that its negative effect could be mitigated. HR Manager should adopt following policies:

Meddling in Primary Job

Moonlighting policies is to set out your expectation that employees will treat their primary job on first priority. You cannot stop employee for other opportunities but can make them clear that you expect the employee to put your job first.

Difference of Interest

This policy will insure that secondary job will not be related or effect your company, as they will not start working for their competitors while they are working for you.

Consent for the Additional Employment

While making policy you may include a clause that state that an employee must get approval for any other employment. But remember it shall be consistently applied to all employees – Don’t allow one person to work another job and prohibit another employee from doing so if circumstances are similar.

A well designed policy will help to achieve the goal of organization and it will also help the employer to create an open environment so that without fear of disclosure employee could work.


Apart from above mentioned policies, following are the recommendations which a HR Manager can consider

• HR Manager should support his employee with good compensation and reward policies.

• HE should not leave opportunity cost, so that employee stop their urge for other job.

• Maintain good relations as well as should keep smart vision for their career advancement.

• Co-partnership and profit sharing can prove to be techniques for facing the problem of moonlighting.

• Overall a great concern for human is required by the side of HR Manager to increase employee’s belongingness.


From Above Discussion it is clear that due to changing conditions moonlighting cannot be stopped but it should be regulated and controlled. Policies formation is important but implementation of the same must be employed in the terms of employment and employees should be clear about the consequences of breaching the same.

This article has been authored by Devika Ahuja from SIBM Bengaluru


Satarupa Banerjee, 2012 Int. J. Mgmt Res. & Bus. Strat.

PATRICIA LOTICH, 2010, Moonlighting [Accessed May 14, 2014].

Karan Smith Conway, 1992,Upjohn Institute Publications, Moonlighting Behavior: Theory and Evidence

Views expressed in the article are personal. The articles are for educational & academic purpose only, and have been uploaded by the MBA Skool Team.

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