British frontline workers are feeling the pinch

Study finds 51% will go into debt to pay for Christmas
43% feel there’s ‘too much pressure to spend’ during the festive season

Brits are feeling the pinch more than their overseas counterparts, with 56% saying their wages barely cover living expenses compared to 39% of Germans, 31% of Nordic workers (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland) and 29% of Dutch contemporaries.

That’s according to a first-of-its-kind study by global workforce management provider, Quinyx. It polled over 3000 shift and non-desk-based workers in the retail, fashion, wholesale, shipping, distribution, warehousing and logistics industries to gain a fuller understanding of how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting employees in Europe .

Despite respondents across all countries working more hours in 2023 compared to previous years – peaking at 46% in the UK and The Netherlands, many had to accept help to cover the cost of everyday essentials.


Around two in five (39%) workers in The Netherlands received financial support from family and friends to pay the bills (31% in the UK), while more than a quarter (26%) of those surveyed in the Nordics and Germany turned to food banks (11% in the UK).

With Christmas only weeks away, apprehension around the cost and associated pressures at home and work are mounting in the UK and overseas.

More than half of Brits (51%) will be getting into debt this festive season – a sentiment echoed in the Nordics (58%), 29% are dreading Christmas because of the cost, felt by 32% and 26% of Nordic and Dutch respondents respectively, and 43% think there’s too much pressure on people to spend money at Christmas.

However, it’s not all bah humbug! 41% surveyed in the UK said it makes them happy when they see people spending lots of money on seasonal gifts and activities – as Christmas is a time to be enjoyed, and 39% like working in December because of the festive cheer.

Toma Pagojute, Chief HR Officer at Quinyx, says: “Beyond the excitement and merriment of the holidays, many frontline workers – everyone from delivery drivers and waiting staff to warehouse operatives and retail assistants, are faced with increased workloads and insurmountable financial challenges. And as our study proves, the UK isn’t alone in that – the cost of living is proving a burden in Europe too.

“So, what’s the best gift business leaders can give our dedicated workforce on the frontline this year? Engage with them, listen, and provide support when and where they need it the most. This can be through flexible work schedules, improved communications and by ensuring their working conditions are the best they can be.”