Don’t we go to work to EARN money?!

Don’t we go to work to EARN money?!

Few people would do as much as they do for their employer if there wasn’t a wage packet waiting at the end of the week or month. After all, we go to work to earn money to live – right?

Of course we do.

That said, a new survey by C.V. Library has found that the working population actually speculates to accumulate on a regular basis. Mr or Mrs Average Employee spends £205 on work-related expenses, to get to work to earn the money to pay…work-related expenses, amongst other things.

As you’d expect, where Mr or Mrs Average Employee lives affects their spend-to-earn amount. Workers in Edinburgh have expenses of £254 a month, whilst Manchester employees spend only £170 a month on such things as travel fees, uniform costs, the price of lunch, and stationery expenses. And don’t forget that fiver in the kitty for Susan’s leaving prezzie!

Should an employee live and work in London, this could rise to £425 a month, which equals over £5k each year!

That’s before you factor in childcare costs – because who places their child with a paid nanny or nursery to just sit at home?! Parents of younger children have to pay for their offspring’s care before they even step over their employers’ thresholds. Depending on the circumstances of their household, childcare costs can range from 17% to 110% of a parent’s wage. There really is a portion of employees that pay out more on childcare than what they bring home.

Most of us don’t sit down and work out what it costs us to earn our money – perhaps this is blissful ignorance of the facts. Would it make us feel differently about our jobs if we worked out what it cost us to do it?

Some sectors are more expensive to work in than others. If you’re an engineer, according to C.V. Library’s survey, you’ll shell out more (£380 per month) than a teacher does (£215 per month).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of employees surveyed (62%) believe their employers should help out with work-related costs.

It’s not been an easy time for employers, what with the last recession still having its impact and an uncertain future in Europe to look forward to. Whereas few would be able to raise wages to make these types of expenses less of an issue for their employees, employers could help to reduce what their employees pay out to come to work.

Recruiters could make suggestions as to how this could be done, because employee perks and benefits could make a difference when it comes to attracting top talent. Certain perks could help recruiters entice quality candidates, for example.
Subsidised canteens, on-site crechés, free public transport travel and/or free parking, providing uniform, allowing occasional home-working to reduce the cost of an employee’s commute…all common solutions employers can easily put in place that could reduce the pressure on their employees’ bank balances. And most are relatively affordable and easy to introduce.

Whilst employers may think “Why should I bother – no one helps me?!” if employees were to concede that their job was costing them more than they feel they benefited from it, their first thought may be to leave. Then the employer faces the cost of recruiting their replacement, the cost of which can average around £3k. When faced with such choice, perhaps employers would think more seriously about employee retention and the benefits that can come from a more productive, loyal and happier worker.

However, Lee Biggins of C.V. Library believes employees are not necessarily hard done by. He says to employers, “If you’re offering a competitive-enough salary, this should cover a number of these expenses anyway. Just ensure that you’re providing staff with fair pay.”

Is that the answer: fair pay? What is fair pay? Many would argue that even the proposed ‘living wage’ wouldn’t help those with lower earnings, who would perhaps feel the impact of work-related expenses more than most.

For those that claim their expenses back after they spend, what they’re effectively doing is lending money to their employer. Individually, this may not amount to much – but in bigger companies, this could constitute a decent-sized loan. Financial News estimated that the total claim back for employees’ expenses could be as much as £321m in the UK each month, which is absolutely staggering – with many employees waiting, on average, two weeks for their expenses to be refunded. Some admitted that such a situation left them short for their household bills and personal spending.

So, what do you think - do we go to work to earn money, or does work make money from us?

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