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Career opportunities no longer reliant on city living

Career opportunities no longer reliant on city living

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Just one in four (26%) office workers believe living in a large city has a positive effect on career opportunities and progression, down from 45% before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from Citrix.

The poll, conducted by OnePoll and quizzing 1,000 UK office workers, questioned employees around their views on their location and its potential impact on career opportunities and development.

Over one in 10 (11%) now believe living in a large city could even have a negative effect on career opportunities, with nearly half (49%) feeling location makes ‘no difference’.

Are we on the cusp of a decentralised economy?

At the time of the poll, around a third (35%) of office workers were either planning to relocate or had already relocated as a result of permanent remote working due to the pandemic. A further 40% said they intended to do so within six months.

Of those who had planned to or had relocated, 32% said it will be a permanent move for them, compared to nearly two thirds (59%) believing it will be a temporary change of scene. Nearly half (43%) said they have chosen to move because the pandemic has shown that they can do their job from anywhere.

“We’ve been referring to work as something you do, not somewhere you go, for a long time now – but the pandemic has forced employers to embrace this workstyle,” says Mark Sweeney, regional VP of UK and Ireland, Citrix. “We’re now seeing workers calling for the ability to work anywhere over the long-term, without feeling hindered by the demands and costs of city-living. With the right technology delivering a consistent employee experience anywhere, this vision is fast becoming a reality.”

Younger workers appear most keen to get away from the city, with nearly three in four (73%) 18-24 year olds saying they would consider relocating to a rural area if they could still perform their role to the same level without commuting.

Have we seen the last of the traditional office?

Seven in ten (70%) office workers believe companies will significantly scale back office space in cities in light of the pandemic, with 65% believing the pandemic has killed the ‘commuter economy’ for the foreseeable future. Over half (56%) agreed that last year was a ‘reset for city living’.

68% of those living in London, who had indicated a willingness to relocate to a suburb or rural area, cited the cost of living in the city area and their salaries not keeping pace. A further 79% felt relocating to a rural or suburban location would offer them a healthier work/life balance.

“The pandemic has forever changed the way employees view and approach work. If organisations want to attract and retain the talent they need to drive their business forward, they must understand these shifting priorities and develop plans to accommodate them today. This means preparing for a future of work where hybrid workforces are not reliant on the office on a daily basis,” Sweeney said.

“By delivering a consistent, high-performance experience that keeps employees engaged and productive from anywhere, organisations can ensure digital tools remove the friction from work and enable staff to do their best wherever they are.”

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