The true cost of living: Two-thirds of employees run out of money before their next pay day

  • Half (47%) of workers across the UK are dissatisfied with their income
  • Two-thirds (63%) admit they run out of money before their next pay day
  • A third (33%) say they’ve never been able to make ends meet without relying on an overdraft, credit card or savings
  • A fifth (17%) believe they can’t go on holiday due to their financial situation
  • A fifth (17%) of workers across the UK work more than one job
  • The majority (56%) of employees are stressed or distracted at work due to financial difficulties

MAY 2018 – LONDON, UK – The UK workforce is dissatisfied with its income and drowning under financial pressures, failing to make ends meet due to the cost of living. New research announced today has revealed employees are spending well beyond their means, struggling to afford a healthy lifestyle and survive without borrowings.

A survey of 6,755 people across the country, commissioned by leading jobs board totaljobs, has discovered half (47%) of employees are dissatisfied with the income they receive from their jobs. Two-thirds (63%) of workers admit that they run out of money before their next pay day and a third (33%) say they’ve never been able to make ends meet without relying on an overdraft, credit card or savings.

Despite the majority (56%) of employees being stressed or distracted at work as a result of facing financial difficulties, the survey has found workers aren’t confiding in their colleagues, manager or HR. Indeed, less than a tenth (9%) would share their monetary concerns with anyone at work. In fact, a quarter (24%) wouldn’t tell anybody at all, including friends and family. It is an obvious cause for alarm that workers would rather suffer in silence, choosing to go through these struggles alone and risk the situation becoming worse rather than seek help addressing the problem.

Financial difficulties and the cost of living

As the cost of living continues to rise, people are experiencing an ever-growing pinch on their finances. The survey has discovered that almost half (42%) of employees have spent their entire monthly salary within three weeks of being paid, placing a huge strain on pressures to maintain a healthy bank balance.

The average employee spends up to 159% of their monthly salary every 31 days, suggesting that employees spend well beyond their means due to the cost of living. Workers spend almost the entirety (92%) of their monthly salary on needs such as mortgage or rent, utilities, healthcare, food and childcare. Mortgage or rent alone takes up a third (34%) of the income nationwide.

Despite risking debt by spending beyond their means, the survey has also found workers across the UK spend the equivalent of half (47%) of their pay packet on wants like dining out, shopping, travel and various forms of entertainment. This suggests employees are chancing financial difficulties in order to release stress and pressure brought upon by work.

It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that only 30% of workers are comfortable with their current account and a third (33%) are struggling to make any form of savings for the future.

All work…

These stresses are extended when combined with working longer hours at the expense of switching off from the always-on culture. The majority (58%) of employees work outside of business hours. The average worker will spend 7 hours and 49 minutes per week doing work at home, the equivalent of a sixth working day every week.

The survey has discovered that people across the UK are becoming increasingly likely to require more than one job. A fifth (17%) of people across the UK admit they have more than one job to make ends meet. Meanwhile, a quarter (27%) of people with families, working multiple jobs, say working only one job isn’t enough to support their household.

It’s clear employees are motivated to work longer hours in a bid to keep the source of income they do have and are often pushing to increase this by taking on a second role.

… no play

When employees are experiencing a difficult month, financially, this can place a great strain on their social lives and personal relationships. Indeed, half (45%) of workers give up on meals out and socialising with friends. A fifth (18%) would give up on alcohol and cigarettes, while a tenth (9%) would give up on cultural activities such as trips to the cinema. Despite how prevalent it has become for employees to suffer from a lack of disposable income, a quarter (24%) confess they make up excuses for cancelling plans with friends and family rather than admit it’s due to financial circumstances.

The squeeze on disposable income has a big impact on the livelihoods of employees of all ages. A fifth (20%) of 16-34 year olds say they don’t have the money to go on holiday, a tenth (10%) of families say they’re ill prepared to pay childcare, and a tenth (9%) of 45-64 year olds say they don’t have the finances to comfortably retire.

Martin Talbot, Group Marketing Director, at totaljobs, said: “This study has revealed workers across the country are struggling to manage their finances due to the UK’s rising cost of living. As employees continue to sacrifice their social life and struggle to adequately prepare for retirement, financial difficulties are causing obvious stress in the workplace.

Worryingly, despite the prevalence of the issue, the survey has found that workers are risking their financial concerns deepening by rarely confiding in their colleagues at work. We hope this study will encourage employers to inspire greater transparency about money issues create an open conversational space between employees and their HR or managers to help address the problems.”


About totaljobs:

Totaljobs is one of UK’s leading job boards, attracting 12 million visits and 3 million applications from qualified jobseekers every month. 130,000 new candidates register with us each month who have an average of 170,000 jobs a month to choose from, posted by thousands of employers including Amazon, Sky, Virgin Media, DHL amongst many others.

We were formed in 1999 and we are part of Totaljobs Group Ltd, the largest and fastest growing UK job board company in the UK. Our head office is in London, and we also have offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow.

In turn, Totaljobs Group Ltd is a significant division of StepStone Group, one of the largest job board companies in the world and a subsidiary of Axel Springer Digital Classifieds.

Visit the totaljobs website: