Workers in the UK are feeling the pinch as the twin strains of stagnant wages and rising costs of living make a severe dent in their bank balances.
A survey of 6,755 people across the UK, commissioned by jobs board Totaljobs has revealed that workers spend almost their entire (92%) monthly salary on needs such as mortgage or rent, utilities, healthcare, food and childcare. Mortgage or rent alone takes up a third (34%) of income nationwide.
Two-thirds (63%) of employees across the UK are living from pay cheque to pay cheque, running 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.
Despite just over half (56%) of employees being stressed or distracted at work because of financial worries, the survey has found workers don’t confide in their colleagues, manager or HR. The poll found that fewer than one in 10 (9%) would share their financial worries with anyone at work, while 24% wouldn’t even tell friends and family.
Just over two in five (42%) 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.
Yet workers will splash out 47% of their pay packet on wants such as dining out, shopping, travel and various forms of entertainment.
It’s no surprise then that 33% if workers are struggling to make any form of savings for the future.
The poll found that well over half (58%) of employees work outside business hours. The average worker will spend seven hours and 49 minutes a week carrying out extra work at home – the equivalent of a sixth working day every week.
Brits are also increasingly likely to need to take on a second job. A fifth (17%) admit they have more than one job to make ends meet. Meanwhile, a quarter (27%) of parents working multiple jobs say working only one job isn’t enough to support their families,
If employees are short of cash before pay day, they will try to cut back on socialising. Half (45%) of those polled would forgo meals out and socialising with friends. Meanwhile, a fifth (18%) would give up alcohol and cigarettes and a tenth (9%) are prepared to miss out on cultural activities such as trips to the cinema.
A quarter (24%) admit to making excuses for cancelling meeting up with friends and family rather than admit it’s due to financial circumstances.
The squeeze on disposable income impacts on employees of all ages. A fifth (20%) of 16- to 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- to 64-year-olds admit they don’t have the finances to comfortably retire.
Commenting on the survey, Martin Talbot, group marketing director, at Totaljobs, says: “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, the survey has found that workers are risking their financial concerns deepening by rarely confiding in their colleagues at work.”