Too Poor to Work?

New research has shown that the price tag of returning to work can be up to £186, while new employees can face further costs of up to £1,057 out of their first pay packet according to a report from leading employment support provider, Reed in Partnership.

The report entitled ‘Too Poor to Work?’ has highlighted the growing problem caused by rapidly rising travel and childcare costs for long-term unemployed people trying to get back into work. The process of finding a job is likely to come with a £167 price tag for someone who has been out of work for some time, rising to £186 in London.

Once in a job, someone working outside the capital may face costs of £223 during their first month - including lunch, travel and new clothing. In London, someone long-term unemployed returning to work is likely to face costs of around £342 in their first month. If unsubsidised childcare is included this can rise to £756 outside the capital and £1,057 in London.

When Reed in Partnership last published a report looking at the cost of returning to work in March 2016, headline inflation was just 0.8%. Yet for the remainder of that year and throughout 2017, UK citizens experienced a sizeable increase in the cost of living, with inflation almost reaching 3% by the Autumn of 2017. Since 2016, the price of a litre of petrol has increased by 17.8%, while childcare costs are up by around 7%.

The good news for jobseekers is Reed in Partnership offers a range of ESF-funded programmes which can provide people with financial assistance. Participants have access to a range of services, including help with costs in the early days of a new job.

Top tips for jobseekers

  • Make full use of your local job centre or employment support provider.
  • Search and apply for jobs online, using the internet at public libraries or by asking a friend or family to use their computer if you do not have access.
  • Search for the best deals for clothing online or borrow clothing.
  • If you are claiming benefits, see if your local Jobcentre Plus or welfare to work provider can refund your travel.
  • Look out for local discounts on travel. For example, if you receive certain out-of-work benefits in London you may qualify for a 50% discount on travel by bus and tram.
  • Case studies of people who have been helped back into work with financial support are available here.

Martin Fallon, Managing Director of Reed in Partnership, said:

“We know the cost of travel and childcare in 2018 makes it much harder for some people to afford to start working again. Someone seeking work following a lengthy period of unemployment may have high levels of debt. They then face costs likely to include travelling to interviews, printing CVs, obtaining suitable clothes for interviews and acquiring new skills and qualifications. We are delighted to be able to support those who may face financial barriers when looking for work, and in turn help our participants to access the often life transforming benefits of getting a new job.”

Download a copy of the report below.

Download Paper
Too Poor to Work?