COVID-19 has sped up movement of workers outside of London

The spread of COVID-19 has accelerated migration outside of London, with 1.6 million employees working outside of the capital, with the intent to continue on doing so after lockdown ends.

This research was conducted by Totaljobs and combines analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which found that the number of employees moving away from London was increasing. In 2019, the migration put of London stood at 30 000, which is the equivalent to losing 83 employees every day. It also meant that more people were moving out than in to the capital.

Over a third (38 per cent), said that previous job commitments had prevented them from leaving London, now 43 per cent of staff have said that flexible working would encourage them to relocate outside the city.

The virus seems to have hindered the appeal of the capital, with pre lockdown results showing 27 per cent of people living in London wanted to stay there for their entire lives now dropping to 20 per cent.

As well as over a quarter (27 per cent) who live in urban areas have stated they do not want to return to their London office since they have been remote working. The cost of living in London is a big factor in city living with 31 per cent of 25-34-year-olds stating remote working helps to reduce travel costs and makes it easier to move to a cheaper area.

Over half (54) of millennials think it is unrealistic to own property in the capital.

Also, the “Kickstarter Scheme” announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak on 08/07/20 which subsidises six-month work placements for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit is viable anywhere in the country. 

Jon Wilson, CEO at Totaljobs said:

Covid-19 has drastically impacted the way we live, what we want from our jobs, and how we strike the balance between home and work. The pandemic has affected jobs across many different sectors, and, as a result, people are increasingly expanding their job searches beyond their immediate location.

With many younger workers reporting that they would be interested in moving out of London if flexible and remote working options were available, there’s a real opportunity for regional employers to attract highly skilled and experienced people looking to relocate. In fact, Totaljobs research found that 25 per cent of workers have already requested to continue remote working long term, meaning location could become less of a barrier for attracting talent altogether. Embracing the potential of flexible working for roles that can be carried out this way helps to retain staff, even those with plans to move further away from cities. This means employers can widen their talent pools beyond the candidates they can find locally.

As we move into an employer-led market whereby there are more people looking for jobs, than jobs available, and the Government pledges to invest in businesses across the UK, the employers that will stand out from the crowd will be the ones that take heed of these changing trends and shifts in priorities for candidates and workers, and take action to support staff, for the benefit of individuals’ working lives, and business success.

Totaljobs spoke to 2,000 UK working adults to obtain these results.