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


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