New research explores student attitudes towards money and work

New research by The Property Marketing Strategists (TPMS) reveals that over 50% of students are working 11+ hours with 44% working between 11 and 20 hours per week.

New research by TPMS explores student attitudes towards money and work | PBSA News

As part of its Youth Forum, TPMS, partner Dig-In and sponsor The Crowd Agency have completed a survey and focus group with UK-based university students to better understand their working commitments and the impact on their studies.

The survey attracted 200 current students of which 78% were female and 58% were between the ages of 18-20.

The survey revealed that around half of students are taking on part-time jobs to pay for necessities including accommodation, food and clothes. Kelly, one of the students in the focus group, stated: “I couldn’t afford my rent if I didn’t work.” Another student, Manvi agreed, saying “My income mostly goes on my rent and electricity bills and then groceries.”

“With the cost of living remaining high, it seems that it has become expected for students to work whilst studying at university to pay for essentials. A lot of universities are clearly supporting students with finding work and organising timetables, which enables students to fit work around their studies and future career opportunities.”

Sarah Canning, Co-founder, TPMS

TPMS compared the 45% figure of the current percentage of students working against the same question asked in the cost-of-living survey in 2022, when 48% of students had a part-time job.

Although the percentage remains similar, the research found that students are working more hours in 2024 compared to two years ago – and the students interviewed would take on further hours if they could.

One international student in the focus group said, “I am on a student visa so I am restricted to 20 hours per week, but I would definitely want to work more if I could.”

The survey went on to ask, ‘Do you feel like your job distracts you from your studies?’ Although 60% of students said yes, those in the focus group all stated that having a job helps them to socialise and meet new people.

“Our recent research shows that a high percentage of students must work to be able to study at university. Interestingly, students in our focus group were very positive about their work as it helps them to make more friends. Therefore, whilst there is clearly a balance between work and study, it is also adding a new community. Adding stronger bonds and connections to the community may not all be a bad thing.”

Deenie Lee, Co-founder, TPMS

Key findings

  • 45% of respondents are working part-time, compared to 60% in 2023 and 48% in 2022.
  • 53% of working university students earn the minimum wage.
  • 29% are employed under zero-hour contracts. 
  • When asked them torank their list of expenditures in order of what they spend their income on, 65% ranked accommodation as number one, 30% ranked food shop as number one, and only 4% used it to socialise with friends and 2% on clothes.
  • 60% of respondents said work distracts them from studies.

Read the full report and listen to the focus group soundbites.

This research is part of TPMS annual series through the Youth Forum, which provides qualitative and quantitative insight from an independent data set of students studying in the UK.