Payroll Education for Students

“What do we go to work for?” I asked the students as they passed by my payroll career stand at Oldfield Academy, Bath “To earn money!” they all gleefully replied. “Exactly” I laughed and so the conversation began. Interestingly, only a third of the 14 & 15 year olds I spoke to had heard of payroll as a business function despite knowing they get paid when they go to work.

Access Creative College, Bristol Career Fair, March 2023

Why the lack of payroll awareness?

As a payroll professional and working in a payroll bureau I know for certain that a large proportion of employees do not check their payslips on a regular basis, if at all. How do I know? Because we have software to report on employee engagement across our ePayroll portals,

But why the payroll apathy? Has payroll become so complicated that employees have become increasingly disconnected from the reality of their pay? I’m sure there are many reasons why there is a lack of payroll awareness across the working population but one of the main problems is lack of financial education in schools.

Payroll education begins at school

As a payroll bureau we firmly believe that education around payroll lifecycles (hire to retire), understanding how to briefly check a payslip and where to get detailed payroll advice should start at school – before a young person starts their first job.

At the very least, helping young people understand the basic principles of how their employer will calculate their pay, entitlement to statutory sickness pay, an overview of personal tax allowances, workplace pension enrolment and student loan deductions are the foundations of helping young people make wise financial choices and healthy work habits from day one. In my opinion, financial education is as important as relationship education. And yet, it’s not a topic of discussion in schools despite students starting jobs at 14 years old, paying taxes and of course many will go on to have student loans for decades – All of which will affect their net pay and ability to fund their chosen lifestyle.

Payroll Career Presentations held at Wellsway School, Keynsham, Bristol

Student Payroll Education Course

Here at Cox & Co. we aim to address this and expand the realm of life skills education by producing a suite of payroll information videos for younger adults. The topics are likely to be:

  1. What is a payslip?
  2. What is a National Insurance Number?
  3. What is a tax code?
  4. What is the National Minimum Wage?
  5. What is a P60?
  6. What is a P45?
  7. Starting a new job – Tax status declaration help
  8. Leaving a job – What documents do I need?
  9. Student loans – When will I pay them?
  10. Having more than one job – what to tell HMRC?
  11. What is HMRC – how to contact?
  12. What is a Workplace Pension?

This is an important first step for young people and we are passionate about ensuring they have the right tools and knowledge to enter the world of work. If you are an education provider and wish to find out more, please do get in touch with me.

Tracy Jerram, Commercial Director –