The hidden costs of working

February 2, 2016

When starting a new job many individuals review their expenses; making adjustments for a longer commute or different travel arrangements such as train or petrol expenditure. However how many of us take into consideration the other hidden costs of working?

  • That new haircut that you got for your first day
  • The new professional wardrobe, updated on a regular basis
  • The money spent on childcare whilst working
  • The quick lunch you picked up between meetings
  • The new diary purchased to keep appointments in check

So many costs are not even considered when taking up employment at a company. With types of employment adapting to the demands of the 24/7 lifestyle, a large amount of employees are on zero hour contracts. Spending money on travel only to find out that there is no work when you get there is hardly fair however this hidden cost of having a job is a reality for many people in the UK.

The cost of holding down a job is currently estimated at £5K this is slightly more for women based on the pressure to have a more diverse wardrobe. This can be off putting to individuals who are claiming benefits. Do the benefits of employment outweigh the hidden costs of working?

There are many initiatives across the UK to help assist women into reducing the hidden wardrobe costs of working as it is agreed that their wardrobe cost is higher. These schemes are set up to motivate women and prepare them for employment:

  • Dress for success: is an international not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
  • Smart Works: Every day at Smart Works they provide high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to unemployed women.

Once you carefully consider the hidden costs of working and truly evaluate expenses, it is possible to reduce this cost yourself. The Dress for Success/Smart Work initiatives can be a starting point however simple routine changes can also save you money. For example taking a packed lunch to work instead of going to the shop/cafe on a daily basis can save you money. Also if you speak to employers and colleagues you may be able to organise more cost effective means of travelling, for example a cycle2work scheme, a car share or simply pounding the pavement!

The benefits of employment and developing as a professional individual and gaining knowledge far outweigh the hidden costs of working. These benefits need promoting by recruitment companies, the Jobcentre and within your own companies to encourage reluctant individuals to take a step into employment. We are always quick to ask what the employer can do to reduce these costs however, when did we take the time to reflect on these expenses and ask what we, as individuals can do to reduce them!

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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