People working in the UK spend up to £5,000 a year just in expenses relating to work, research has found.
According to Protecting.co.uk by far the largest of these expenses is travel, which can in some cases cost commuters up to £5,000 alone. Perhaps not surprisingly, the people hit hardest by travel costs are those working in larger cities and paying premium peak-time rates for public transport.
Even those who commute by car feel the sting in rising fuel prices. Food, car parking, and even basic grooming costs are leaving British workers out of pocket before they’ve even seen a pay cheque.
Not just a pay gap
Protecting.co.uk also found that women tend to spend more in work-related expenses, particularly when it comes to clothing, totalling a significant £1,500 a year compared with just £500 spent by men. Given that women generally earn less, this suggests that they’re going to be more out of pocket than their male counterparts.
In addition, the added expectations of dressing for the workplace seem to place greater pressure on women, with the assumption that they will need a more diverse wardrobe. Speaking to office workers, Protecting.co.uk raised the example of men who will buy a good quality suit and a selection of shirts that will see them through most situations.
In contrast, a woman in the same office is likely to buy clothing fairly frequently, even for dress-down days. Add in the cost of childcare for either gender and the monthly pay cheque may not go very far at all.
New starters less hope
The hardest hit, however, are those who are new to the workplace. Without savings as a back-up, the expenses of getting up to speed can be somewhat daunting when you see them on paper. Those coming off benefits, in particular, are finding it hard to get into work when they don’t have the necessary financial backing to get a foot in the door.
New workers with part-time jobs or with zero hours contracts are also at a disadvantage. If you’re on a zero hours contract, there isn’t always available work so it is entirely possible that you will be paying out for basics such as transport without the safety net of a guaranteed income.
High costs for low paid
The research included rather bleak findings for those in lower paid jobs. The steady rise in transport costs bears no relation to salary, meaning that there are instances where people are put off certain jobs or feel entirely excluded.
Director of Protecting.co.uk, Mark Hall, commented that the reality of hidden costs in holding down a job is something that is distinctly unfair for lower paid employees and those just getting into employment. It’s not particularly prominent in employment discussions and thus comes as an unwelcome shock for an unprepared new starter.
Factoring in other costs such as parking and lunches, and even getting a haircut, the price of keeping a job continues to be a daunting prospect for many British workers.
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