The cost of work: What we pay to work

Monday, August 17, 2015

The unemployment rate is rising, but so are the costs of work. And while living costs and house prices have been rising faster than wages, the costs associated with work are also on the way up. From toll roads to public transport costs, a simple cup of coffee to updating work clothes. From childcare costs to tax increases, Australians are paying to work.

A recent 2015 McCrindle Research study of over 540 working Australians reveals that income doesn’t just generate wealth, it also consumes it. Australians are forking out more than ever on transport costs, clothing and food while they are working, significantly reducing their take-home pay. Incurring travel costs associated with work, work-related education expenses, child-care costs, and income tax all further reduce a full-time worker’s take-home pay to less than two thirds of their gross salary.


95% of working Australians spend their own money on food and beverages during work times, with almost 3 in 4 Australians (74%) purchasing lunch, morning tea, or coffees when at work or when travelling to/from work at least once per week. More than one fifth of Australians (22%) spend their own money on consumable food items every single day while they are at work.


Males tend to eat out more often, with 27% of male employees purchasing food or beverages at least once per day (compared with 16% of females). The frequency at which employees purchase consumables while at work decreases with age. While 78% of Generation Ys and 77% Generation Xs spend their own money on food and beverages at least once per week, this reduces to 60% for the Baby Boomer Generation.


The average Australian employee spends $18.52 on lunches, snacks, and beverages during their workday every week. This takes into consideration the 6% of Australians who don’t spend money on food while they are at work, and ranges to include those who go out more than once a day, some of whom spend over $100 on food and beverages while at work each week. Over a 48-week work year, this average weekly spend accumulates to $889 per year.


In an effort to keep up with the latest styles and fashions or simply to avoid wearing the same thing every day, employees spend hundreds of dollars on clothing per year. Australians report spending an average of $320 each year of their own money on clothes they require directly for work. This includes employees across all industries and factors into account those who spend very little, having uniforms supplied, as well as those who purchase corporate apparel.


After childcare and tax costs, transport is the greatest expense when it comes to work, with the average Australian spending $99.88 each week on work-related petrol costs, tolls, and/or public transport tickets. While public transport cost increases have been modest, the big challenge for workers has been the rising cost of petrol, tolls and car ownership, and this is particularly relevant for the 2 in 3 Australians (65.5%) who travel to work by private vehicle. The average full time worker spends almost $4,800 per year just on getting to and from work.


30% of working Australians spent their own money last year on education and training directly associated with their line of work, averaging to $1,936. Overall (accounting for the 70% who didn’t spend any of their own money on employment-related learning), the average Australian worker spends $588.60 per annum of their own money on training, and much of this, where it is retraining for a new career or role, is not tax deductable.


The Productivity Commission Study into childcare shows the median childcare costs are $7.40 per hour ($74 for a 10 hour day). For those requiring full time childcare for 50 hours per week, this would cost them $370 per week which equates to 22% of the average full time weekly earnings.


The current average full time weekly earnings is $1539.40 per week ($80,049 per annum) which brings this average wage into the third tax bracket (a tax rate of 37 cents per dollar). Based on the 2015-2016 tax schedule this average annual earnings package would attract a tax bill of $16,768.


The average full-time Australian worker who earns $80,049 per annum (current full time adult weekly earnings) is spending $889 of that on lunches, $320 on wardrobe changes, $4,794 on transport costs, $587 on education, $17,760 on child-care (based on 70 hours at average costs) and $16,768 on tax (not including tax deductions). These total work costs add up to $41,118, which is 51% of the average annual gross.


Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


futurist media commentary royal baby publication Australian Home social commentator pharmacies training mover and shaker mccrindle tea victoria car career census data mentor house price relational village celebration food 1975 home ownership home owner national private wealth teacher online the lucky country renter of the future analysis Word Up Aussies employment System's Architect volunteers Channel Seven food insecurity census results educhat holidays future sector slideshare area professional speaker experience australia sydney metro optus my business awards infographic presentations income educated Research Executive ABS faux-cilise consumer friends travelling the great screenage Australian demographics wealth and income the changing face of 2015 trend tuesday Work place generation alpha social impact brand shopping centre bus unemployment sun communications growing population community event baby names report Social Trend Real Estate Institute of Victoria volunteer domestic global VIC australian GPO market research faux-ciliser Adelaide school World Water Day Australians entrepreneur litter cost of living education real ACF 2016 dessert Vocational education Northern beaches Event insight local communities purpose faux-cilising ACT Report house price rise entrepreneurs of today culturally diverse study researcher capital cities visualisation average aussie infographic wall Wagga Wagga work-life demographic transformations Crime Rates Gen X careers charities emerging technologies changing face of sydney Engineering Manager priorities VET housing tea speaker Skilling "know the times" google NEETs research data JOMO media research on coffee ferry generations wealth inequality 1968 hornsby Australian Trends the hills in the media focus groups keynote speaker group session travel education future organisations mccrindle in the media omnibus money university degree event ACT socialites forecasting happiness high density living office grandparents learning lifestyle Aussie global generations list states 2017 workplace language suburban living national crime rates seasons state gig economy cancel plans average sydneysider choice workers australian communities forum supply and demand social commentary cultural diveristy divorce pharmacy urban taskforce Sydney’s south west emerging trends VET sector australian community trends report award christian NT Australian Population baby names australia report tattoos generation the hills shire media activity poor faith resource earning communities Tuesday Trend demographer twentyseventeen medicine 24 million selfie Australian Communities Trends WA Births snapshot new office speakers pack economy personal growth cancelling event donate sydney hills professional services dreams offenders future of shopping 40 million workplace culture sustainable new york times engagement budget moreton bay property market safe NFP event brand experience goals sunny days trend Valentine’s Day workshop going out trades in depth interviews news energy Kirsten Brewer Duchess of Cambridge hunger debt rental stress relevant friendship Hills Shire Council innovative nfp future-proof world emerging generations affordability cartodb The ABC of XYZ sydney speaker potts point education sector geomapping focus group click award winner research employers socialising post rationalism fresh James Ward identity summer google for education motivate Australian Dream not for profit facts sydneysider ethnography baby ageing population future proofing education research employmer housing trends australian communities trends report Jura Coffee story Queensland: QLD coffee lovers ACF17 work youth cost social change Macquarie University local community hello fresh grave decision baby boomers menai English leadership workshop Queensland change Financial Planning Week water internships Tasmania storytelling Christchurch property price year 7 poker master The Daily Edition balance gender What is food insecurity? screenage social researchers volunteering society trends Generation Y giving eliane miles royal social media millennials food bank coffee teachers suburbs economic EFF TAS REIV Conference wealth and income distribution culture innovation 2016 clothing belief conference presentation TED New Zealand average Australian ease of travel urban living index cash SMART customer collaborative data analyst Bathburst train data 24,000,000 Sydney aged care puzzle Generation X Wodonga australian social research proactive CPI young australians business performance australians staying home more christianity apartment goal repayments social lives earnings year 12 typical australian cars trends Christmas presents owning a home wedding winter blues plans tuesday Sydney Hills Business Chamber land of the middle class shopping crime marketing cold home wealth Financial Planning Association Jura Australia NSW 2013 mining boom product Territory wellbeing university 2020 sydneysiders house prices social issues 1980 Northern Territory casual census fail authenticity jobs Christmas lunch dream daily telegraph TEDx community dare to dream lalor park paying to work middle class micro leadership meetings alpha Cobbitty-Leppington hills mateship teaching live the dream teleworking tertiary education city technology communicate shopper's pick demographic communication norwest New South Wales not-for-profit healthy future winter transport thought leadership February 16 housing market staff online shopping commuters challenge tableau office opening cloudy days FOMO Education Future Forum rule keeper commute learner easter stats crows nest student Hornsby Shire Council office space social researcher school students shifts speajer school satisfaction research pack ipswich TED talk property Netflix internet wages NBRS Architecture princess charlotte Res Vis survey know the times Gen Y builders families McCrindle Speakers panel Real Estate royal family Do It Yourself hills shire huffington post world youth day prince george January 26th cooking financial independence megatrends report the average aussie millenials high density apartments mortgage trends of 2016 speakers curiosity students etiquette professional presenters Northern Beaches consumerism parents church salary aussie culture future of education financial fears Myth population visual aged care residents ashley fell dreaming intern media release collaboration Australian schools meals Northern Beaches Christian School NBRS future proof social analysis mccrindle research case study daily commute wage hobart society chairty Kiwi growth digital environment cultural diversity long weekend women 2012 professional Andrew Duffin unaffordable children follow Willowdale population milestone brisbane politics moderators guide annual income sydneycity child care mobile vegemite house manly interactive environmental scanning father's day Geoff Brailey urban video internship pyrmont weather woolworths PSI schools students conference speaker qualitative research group religion 2016 census statistics ultimo trends of 2017 Australian communities wolloomooloo recap apartments marriages Population Clock investor generational trends research visualisation teach Love housing affordability forum networking narcissism marrickville workforce monarchy baby name trends acf15 CBD optimistic overcast define men christmas Sydney keynote speaker royal influence the australian dream Research Director REIV National Conference urban living social Mark McCrindle names mccrindle non profit earn Canberra Australian Families #censusfail showreel social enquiry volunteering data Mount Annan-Currant Hill ageing tips breakfast local baby name predictions fears suburb social shifts wealth distribution data visualisation program bondi results baby name greatness eliane sector wide study Melbourne survey design SMSF global financial crisis perth investment sports debate Charlotte cancelling plans South Australia sector wide rising house prices couple TDE employmee blaxland millionth 10 years hopes investing financial dreams SRE research report anzac cica 2014 stay home donation deloitte weekly earnings divorce rate impact events young people 2016 census results schools social research spend Tuesday Trends FPA outsourcing affordable McCridle Australian community trends public speaking population map Merry Christmas learn SA Elderslie-Harrington park graphs Australia Day 2017 retirement brands sydney event demography entrepreneurial buildings entertainment government financial planning vegetarian low density Wellington demographic trends Australia street IT Specialists business shbc resilience australian real estate baby names sentiments learning styles rise of local ashley mckenzie community engagement waverton conferences life presentation baby boom optus high school not for profit research education future report business index parenting conference HSC social trends tv gen z charity infographics townhouses renting rich Assistant Store Manager ACF2017 holiday New Zeland Australian Census DESTEL Deaths insights high density households Financial Planning Association of Australia increasing densification bureau responsive living skills census gen alpha gig equip personalities work mates darwin national wealth organisational culture gold coast social life thrive Caregiver trends analyst engage criminal easy rider ideas population growth kate middleton forecast participants 1994 micro apartments logan Australian Bureau of Statistics quote Australia Day ACF rent marriage capital city sunburnt country spirituality household neutral bay demographics DIY mother's day rain research services leader Scouts toys care support family mythbusting public holiday finance Christmas season Royals Channel 7 public speaker Western Australia 23 million future of work generation Z professional development keynote staying in financial future jobs of the future newspaper census 2016 housing growth mythbusters small business financial youth unemployment contiki