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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 05:31 GMT 06:31 UK
Paying to look good at work
Oliver Chris as Ricky in TV comedy show The Office
Image is increasingly important, workers think
Workers spend almost a fifth of their salary trying to look good in the office, believing that image is increasingly important to their career, a survey has suggested.

The survey of almost 3,000 workers found that the average employee earned 23,000 but spent 3,200 a year out of their own pocket on their appearance and other work-related costs.

Workers said they spent around 442 a year on suits and 500 a year on shirts and shoes.

Cost of looking the part
Overall: 3,200
Suits: 442
Shirts and shoes: 500
Haircuts: 182

The cost of haircuts was estimated at 182 a year.

Most of those polled by Internet job site reed.co.uk said they spent more on their looks now than two years ago.

And almost half said they expected to spend more of their own money on "looking the part" in the coming months.

Women spent more than men on new shoes and haircuts, but men generally spent more on work-related items, the research found.

Fighting up

Administrative staff and personal assistants spent 18 a year more than company directors on having their hair cut, it was reported.

Paul Rapacioli, director of reed.co.uk, said: "People are feeling under more and more pressure to spend their own money to fight their way up the career ladder.

"Though presentation is clearly important, employers need to reassure staff that it's the quality of their work which will get them noticed, not just how they look."

The most image-conscious workers were said to be in the Thames Valley, followed by London, where the cost of work was 43% higher than in the north-east, the area of Britain where workers spent the least.

Welsh workers spent most on shoes, electronic accessories and client entertaining, while those in the south spent most on networking.

See also:

15 Mar 02 | UK
25 Oct 99 | UK
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