Cost Of ‘Adulting’: Young Adults Today Fork Out £1bn To Secure First-Time Job

Other ‘Adult’ Expenses: 18 to 25-year-olds spend £1,485.69 kitting out first home with furniture
Average rent for today’s young adults is £536.78 on rent pcm
One in eight young adults are under pressure financially; 35% say it’s their biggest concern
One in four (26%) have no savings in place

Growing up and navigating the world of adulthood is as costly as it is tough, with new research by Gumtree revealing young adults are forking out over £1bn nationally trying to land their first full-time job.



The 2,000 poll of 18 to 25-year-olds found on average young people go on three interviews, with each job hunter spending £50 – £150 in total – on buying smart clothes (51%), paying for travel (31%) and getting a fancy haircut (4%) to impress on the day. Men spend 30% more than women preparing for an interview, shelling out £57 each compared to £44 for women.

Over two fifths (44%) of young workers admitted their financial situation impacted their job search, with 43% relying on someone else to fund their job hunt. Not surprisingly, 65% turned to their parents for help, whilst 4% relied on their bank or a loan company.



Over a quarter (27%) of young British adults haven’t applied for jobs because they couldn’t afford the travel expenses to get to the interview, with a further 38% not applying for a position because they couldn’t afford the daily travel costs the job would require. Other barriers impacting young job seekers’ ability to get their foot in the door include having to take up another job to get by (29%) and being unable to afford the cost of unpaid work experience (28%).



Whilst 19% of 18 to 25-year-olds are yet to fly the nest, the ones who have moved out and are paying rent spend on average £587.32 per month. Londoners face the biggest expense moving out, with rent costing on average £671.31 per month, compared to residents in the West Midlands, who pay just £440.67. On top of rent, moving out doesn’t come cheap, with millennials spending £1,485.69 each kitting out their first home with furniture. Women are more inclined to take on the challenge of an unfurnished property (54%) compared to men (36%).



The pressures of being a ‘proper’ grown up are taking their toll emotionally on today’s young adults with 81% of young people revealing they feel under pressure financially and 35% saying this is their biggest concern. On top of this, 21% feel they don’t have any money left for fun once they have paid their monthly living costs. For those who are feeling the pressure, their main concerns are not being able to buy a place of their own in the future (28%), while over a quarter (26%) have admitted to not having savings whatsoever.


Georgie Barrat, Leading Technology Journalist and Millennial, said:


“We all know that the cost of living and house prices are going up, but it speaks volumes that millennials have coined the phrase “adulting”. Buying your first property or setting up a savings account is such a foreign concept that it can feel like we’re imposters, somehow still playing at being adults.

“Not being able to get a foot on the property ladder has a big part to play in this. It has stunted a coming-of-age moment that previous generations have taken in their stride. We are generation rent and certainly from my experience of living in London, you’re in the minority if you have a mortgage before your thirty.

“Then when it comes to finding a job, as a generation we are placing more emphasis on job satisfaction. We no longer view our careers as a work/life balance, but more of work/life integration, with tech enabling us to move fluidly between down-time and work-time. That’s why there’s so much pressure to clinch that dream job that not only pays the bills, but also resonates with what you want to achieve. As you go through the interview process, it’s no surprise so many of us are forking out so much to look the part!”


Hannah Wilson, Head of Marketing at Gumtree, said:


“We know that making the fully-fledge transition into adulthood is expensive. Moving out and taking on a newfound sense of responsibility and the search for that first or ideal job can take its toll on young people both financially and emotionally. Gumtree can play an important role in these key life moments, whether it be looking for a new job, searching for a house share, furnishing your first home or simply finding an outfit for that all important interview – we’re here to help.”


Gumtree’s top tips for job hunting:

Do your due diligence: It may sound obvious, but many of us can forget to do our due diligence when the prospect of an exciting opportunity grabs our attention. Unfortunately, not everyone has the best intentions with scamming becoming an issue in the online community. Make sure you research the company thoroughly before agreeing to anything and never hand over any money up front. Always be cautious of advertisements asking you to pay for security checks, online training or visas as these could be fraudulent.

Start local: From our research, we know that the cost of travel is a major concern facing young people today. When looking for your first ‘real job’, it’s important to utilise the correct location search settings so you’re not missing out on opportunities right under your nose. If the hype of working afar interests you, start to put money away each week so the next time an opportunity comes your way, you’ll be able to afford the cost of travel.

Pre-loved not used: A new outfit can be a great confidence builder, especially if it’s to impress a prospective employer. While the allure of purchasing something brand new can be appealing, buying a pre-loved outfit can be just as nice but without the price tag. Explore all your options and take your time choosing the perfect outfit – you’ll find brand new doesn’t always mean best.

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