Christmas party

Cost of Christmas: 1 in 10 Gen Z employees can’t attend their work Christmas party

Cost of Christmas: One in ten Gen Z employees say they can’t attend their work Christmas party this year due to concerns over rising costs  

·         One in ten Gen Z employees say they can’t attend their Christmas event as they can’t afford to buy a new outfit or Secret Santa present 

·         Over a fifth (21%) of Gen Z say the Christmas party is the highlight of their year but will struggle to go as a result of the cost of living crisis 

·         61% of young workers feel Christmas parties help to boost morale  

·         A third (33%) of Gen Z workers say attending their Christmas party on a Monday would put them in a good mood for the rest of the week 

One in five (20%) of the Gen Z workforce either won’t be attending or haven’t made up their minds about attending their work Christmas party this year, with over one in ten (11%) citing the cost of living crisis as the reason behind their decision, new research reveals.  

The findings from, one of the UK’s leading jobs and careers sites, show 18% of workers of all ages look forward to their Christmas party as an annual highlight, with Gen Z particularly keen to go to their work Christmas party, with over a fifth (21%) saying it’s the highlight of their year.  

However, the cost of living crisis is putting a dampener on things. Nearly a quarter of Gen Z  (22%) are worried about being able to afford new clothes for the occasion. This is followed closely by almost one in five (17%) being concerned about being able to afford a taxi to get home. 14% state they won’t be able to afford gifts for their colleagues, such as taking part in Secret Santa.   

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

What Gen Z really want 

This jars with what younger workers really want. Despite concerns over rising costs, the Gen Z workforce feels the annual festivities are a key part of work culture. One in five (20%) say it’s their only opportunity to celebrate Christmas. Nearly two-thirds (61%) say attending would help boost morale. Seeing it as an opportunity to become closer to their colleagues (39%).  

Furthermore, over two in five (41%) 18- to 24-year-olds say attending their Christmas party would give them something to look forward to during the cost of living crisis. 28% would feel more valued by their employer throwing them a party.  

It’s women within the age group who appreciate the importance of celebrating the year the most. As three-fifths (60%) say, it helps them to feel closer to their colleagues.  

In a world where hybrid working is fast becoming the norm. It’s no surprise that among all age groups, almost two-fifths (37%) of those who are in a hybrid role say that knowing their employer has organised a Christmas party makes them feel happy. It’s an opportunity to become friends with colleagues. 

Forget Friday. Monday works for Gen Z 

A third (33%) of Gen Z workers feel having their Christmas party on a Monday would put them in a good mood for the rest of the week. 25% said it would help set them up for the week ahead. This boost means 15% of the age group would start to love Mondays more if they knew they had a party to look forward to.  

Commenting on the research, Simon Wingate, Managing Director of, says: 

“It’s clear from our research that, for many, the work Christmas party is now more important than ever due to continuing rising costs.  In the post-pandemic era of hybrid and remote working, Gen Z, in particular, want to celebrate the hard work they have put in over the year and spend time socialising with their colleagues. They’re just struggling with the realities of being able to afford it.  

“We’d encourage businesses to think about ways that they can keep the tradition of Christmas parties alive for those looking to celebrate the festive season but make it more inclusive and affordable. Things such as keeping the venue local to their workplace, so the journey to and from the party is no further than an employee’s normal commute, are a good idea, as is removing any strict dress code. Avoiding a workplace Secret Santa will also alleviate some of the financial burdens on younger workers who might not have the disposable income to participate. 

“We know people love Mondays when their colleagues are more like friends, and while it can be tempting to cancel celebrations this year as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, it’s clear to see parties help co-workers connect with each other and for many, it’s their only opportunity to celebrate Christmas.” 

Top Tips Header

Christmas parties may feel you with dread, but there are some ways to decrease your costs.

  1. Taxis home – check to see whether you can expense a taxi home. No employer should be letting you travel home late at night by yourself, especially when you have been drinking.
  2. Second-hand clothes – I have bought so many amazing dresses online or in charity shops. I bought a black wedding dress for £25, and a white lace dress for £10. Both looked sensational. You don’t need to splash the cash to have a good time and look good.
  3. Secret Santa – Make sure the budget is an amount you can afford. You can opt out if the pressure is on or wrap up something you don’t want anymore!
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