Childcare costs take up a third of annual salaries

Childcare costs now take up a third (35%) of average annual salaries, according to research by Hay Group.

The PayNet UK salary tracker, which analyses salary movements across five different employee levels in more than 700 organisations, found that clerical-level workers in England will spend on average £103.19 per week on childcare in 2012, representing 35% of annual salary.

In Scotland, working parents can expect to pay £101.49 a week, or 34% of salary. In Wales, the figure is £92.35 weekly, or 34% of salary.

The research found working parents spend on average 4.7% more of their wages on childcare than they did five years ago.

But less than half (46%) of UK employers currently offer any form of childcare support. Of those that do, the most commonly offered benefit is childcare vouchers at 35%.

The research also found:

  • Working parents at this level in the south east of England are hardest hit, spending 36% of their £336 weekly wage on childcare in 2012.
  • Working parents in the south west will spend almost as much (35% of a £303 weekly salary) and Londoners only slightly less again (34% of the average £371 wage).
  • The least impacted region is the north west, where working parents can expect to spend 29% of their £318 weekly earnings on childcare.
  • Working parents in professional-level roles will also see childcare costs represent close to a fifth (18%) of average earnings in England, with childcare costs totalling £103.19 eat into average weekly earnings of £565
  • Scottish professionals can expect to pay out 18% of their weekly earnings of £580 on childcare, while parents in Wales face costs of £92.35, or 17% of their weekly earnings of £550.

Adam Burden, reward information consultant at Hay Group, said: “UK workers are feeling the pressure of juggling careers with family life, and with household budgets continuing to feel the squeeze, the rising cost of childcare presents another serious strain.

“Employers need to consider ways to help their workers with mounting childcare costs to ensure they attract and retain talent regardless of their childcare needs.

“[Organisations] should consider offering childcare vouchers, flexible working and creative benefits, such as an onsite nursery, in addition to subsidised childcare. These can make a vital difference for employees with children.”

Read more articles on childcare provision