How much is your job costing you?

15th January 2018

By James Story

Everyone loves getting their payslip at the end of the month, but have you ever thought about just how much your job is costing you to maintain? We surveyed 2,000 office workers from across the UK, asking them how much they spend on everything from their lunch to gifts for their colleagues, as well as which expenses they’re least happy about.

Your morning bus and lunchtime meal deal may seem like small prices to pay, but you can soon rack up a hefty credit card bill over the course of a year. So, let’s see how much earning money is actually costing us!

Across the Country

When asked which essential expenditure they were most unhappy about having to pay, commuting was a clear winner with 30% of people bemoaning their travel costs. It’s easy to see why when, on average, it costs office workers a little over £69 a month. That’s over £800 for the whole year!

Respondents were also asked about which non-essential expenses they were unhappy about shelling out for. Looks like some of us aren’t always in the giving mood, as a quarter of people say they’re least happy about sponsoring colleagues for charity and over half (54%) of people feel overly pressured into contributing towards workplace presents.

Overall, we found you should expect to spend a massive £1,623 thanks to various aspects of your job. How do all these costs add up? Well, every year, the typical worker spends:

- £833.63 commuting to work

- £417.42 on their lunch

- £217.14 on snacks and hot drinks

- £108.61 on clothing and uniforms

- £28.55 on birthday/leaving presents for colleagues

- £18.06 sponsoring their colleagues for charity

Taking a 40-year career as a guide, this amounts to £64,936.40! Just think, that’s almost £16,700 spent just getting your lunch every day!

Men Spend More, Women Give More

Exploring whether men or women spend more thanks to their jobs, men paid more for almost every workplace expense. The two exceptions? Clothing (where women spend £32 more than men over the year) and workplace presents (with women paying £31 over the year, compared to the men’s £27).

Our findings also showed that women are under more pressure than men when it comes to contributing towards workplace presents and attending work social events. The percentage of female workers who felt pressured in these situations (62% and 49%, respectively) were both higher than men asked about the same scenarios (46% and 41%).

Information Technology is the UK’s Most Expensive Industry to Work In

When looking at our results, we identified eight key sectors to see which of them cost its employees the most. These fields were:

- Accounting, banking and finance

- Engineering and manufacturing

- Healthcare

- Information technology

- Public service and administration

- Retail

- Teaching and education

- Transport and logistics

Information technology came out on top, topping five out of the six categories. Only those in the accountancy, banking and finance field spent more on their clothing over the year (£165, against IT’s £147). IT proved to be the most charitable industry, spending the most on sponsoring colleagues (£33) and on work-related presents (£35) every year. They even contribute to the most presents, with an average of 19 over the course of the year. Those people manning the IT help desks obviously like to look out for each other!

You Could End Up Spending £800 A Month!

Surprisingly, when searching for which of our survey-takers spent the absolute most over the course of the year, we found two people tied with the same amount! A male respondent from Birmingham and a female respondent from Manchester both estimated that they spend a whopping £9,600 over the year thanks to job expenses. That’s an average of £800 every month just to keep yourself ready for work – a hearty chunk, no matter the size of your paycheque.

Want to know how much your job is costing you? Use our quick and easy calculator to see whether you’re ahead of the curve, or if you should start skipping that morning coffee.

These costs may seem small, but they all add up!

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