Research methodology

The focus of this study is the cost of commuting to London for work and compare it to the average post-tax UK PR salary.

To calculate commuting costs, we used 17 of the most popular commuter towns outside of London, those being: Chatham, Luton, Basildon, Harlow, Southend, Maidstone, Slough, Worthing, Chelmsford, Reading, Fleet, Tunbridge Wells, Hemel Hempstead, Oxford, Guildford, Beaconsfield and St Albans.

To be able to provide a consistent benchmark, we have used King’s Cross as our nominal London office location for the purpose of calculating the commute.

On top of the primary train journey from the town to London, we have included time and money spent on London Underground transfers as well as an allowance of 15 minutes each way to and from a commuter’s home to their local station.

London journey times are taken from London travel app CityMapper (with the exception of Worthing, with an estimation being taken from Google Maps) based on an arrival to work time of 9am on a Monday and a departure from work at 6pm on a Monday (with the assumption that this is an “average” London working day).

We have used the 2021 fares as listed by the Trainline season ticket calculator and picked the cheapest season ticket that includes a Zone 1-6 London travelcard. This option is cheaper for every season ticket than adding either a standalone yearly travelcard or the combined yearly total of travelling between Zones 1 and 2 using Pay As You Go on top of the base season ticket.

For the flexi-season ticket, we used the National Rail season ticket calculator set to three days per week and chose the flexi option. Three out of the 17 commuter stations did not have a choice for this kind of ticket. We then added the daily London Zone 1-2 travel cost of £7.40 from the TFL website and multiplied it by 3/5ths of the average yearly working days of 140 which totalled £1,036 on top of the flexi season ticket price.

When we refer to the average UK PR salary of £50,606, we took this number from the 2020 PRCA PR Census available for download here. £38,044 is an approximation of the net salary after tax that an employee would receive based on the gross salary of £50,606 calculated using the income tax calculator.

When we refer to the average cost of £5.26 per hour for childcare in the UK, this is taken from a study into national childcare costs done by The Money Advice Service from which we have used the figure for the average hourly cost of part time nursery care.

We have calculated a working year as 261 days (365 days per year minus 104 weekend days), and we have used 28 days (5.6 weeks) as the average holiday allocation (according to, totalling 233 days of commuting on average per year if you work from a fixed office every day.