PhotoWe normally think of employment in terms of how much we get paid. But have you ever stopped to calculate just how much it costs to have a job?

The folks at have. They put the average at around $276 a month, or $3,300 per year.

It also costs money to find a job, according to about 19% of the job seekers in the CareerBuilder survey.

“The cost of work is often what the rest of your budget is centered around,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “Knowing how much it amounts to can help you trim costs and make different lifestyle choices if need be.”

Here are some employment costs, uncovered by the Harris Poll survey, you might have overlooked:

Getting to work

Unless you work from home, you have to drive or take public transportation to get to your job. The poll found 37% of employees spend $25 or more a week for gasoline. The majority – 63%, spend less than that. A few fortunate souls might live close enough to the office to walk.

If you live in the city, chances are you can take public transportation. There is some savings, but not as much as you might think. The poll found 47% spend more than $25 per week on fare.


An eight hour day usually includes a break for a meal, usually lunch. You can save money by taking your lunch each day, and an overwhelming 72% say they do that.

But of the rest who buy their lunch each day, costs can quickly add up. Over half of those who buy lunch spend $25 or more each week.

Child and pet care

Workers who have young children and pets often have to juggle responsibilities while at work, and sometimes this carries a cost. Of employees with children under 18, 29% say they spend money on daycare each month. Out of that 29%, 36% of working parents spend $500 or more each month.

Pets tend to be much less expensive. More than half the workers in the survey said they had a pet at home, and of these employees, more than half spend less than $10 per week on pet care. But 33% spend between $10 and $25, and 3% spend more than $50.

Work attire

People who telecommute can work in their bathrobe if they want, but you have to look professional when you report to the office. If you work some outdoor jobs, it might require specialized clothing.

The survey found that 53% of employees spend $250 or less each year on work apparel, not a huge amount by any stretch. But 4% said they spend between $1,000 and $1,500 annually.

Haefner says the survey shows that some costs are more manageable than others.

“You can vow to carry lunch to work every day, stop buying coffee out, look for cheaper business clothes. Managing those costs can help account for others, like commuting and childcare, which won’t subside,” she said.

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