British workers spend an average of £5,000 a year just getting to work and buying work-related items, even before they get through the front door of the office.
That’s the finding of nationwide health and safety law consultancy Protecting.co.uk, which says that expenses for female employees tend to be higher than men simply because they are expected to have a more diverse wardrobe than their male counterparts.
The company has also found that the hidden cost of working is a particularly bitter pill for new starters to swallow, especially if they are coming off benefits or find themselves in part-time work or on a zero-hours contract.
According to the research, the biggest expense faced by workers is transport to work, which can cost up to £5,000 a year in the most extreme cases.
But even the average worker can find themselves paying four figures every year just to take the bus in or out of town and more if they drive.
Female workers paid less but paying out more
It’s in sundry expenses – especially clothing – that female workers find themselves further out of pocket than their male colleagues. Protecting asked office workers how much they spent on clothes and found:
• The average male worker can get through a year at work with a couple of suits, half a dozen shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes at an average cost £500.
• On the other hand, workplace expectations mean that women spend far more on clothing for office work. The average spend for female office workers came in at £1,500, despite women often being paid less than male colleagues.