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


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