People Moves

London’s talent pool exits city amid lockdown

Millennials and Gen Z individuals were more likely to return home, with 43% of 18-34 year olds moving back to their family home for lockdown

More than one in five (22%) skilled workers in London have moved back to their family home for lockdown, according to new data from the Future Strategy Club, as the demographic makeup of cities and workers has continued to change “immeasurably” amid the pandemic. 

Office workers whose jobs could be done remotely were more likely to leave London, the research found, while 29% of managerial, administrative or professional workers moved back to their family home. Only 6% of manual workers moved back to their family home for lockdown, however.

Millennials and Gen Z individuals were more likely to return home, with 43% of 18-34 year olds moving back to their family home for lockdown. This is compared to just 10% of those aged 35-54 and 3% of over 55s who moved back to their family home.

More than one in ten individuals moved north and east of London, attracted by lower housing costs and more space. Some 13% of individuals in the East Midlands and 11% of individuals in the North East moved home for lockdown and haven’t returned. 

Fewer workers returned to the southern regions, with only 7% and 8% of individuals moving to the South East and South West, respectively. 

According to the Future Strategy Club, this fragmented nature of UK talent will give rise to a new way of working that will “exist long beyond the pandemic”, described as a “nomad generation of business not tied to desks and location”. 

Its data revealed that 26 million (60%) working Brits believe the workplace will have to adapt to fit new ways of working and recruiting talent, or they will be “tempted to leave the 9-5 lifestyle for good”, in favour of freelancing or consulting. 

It added that it’s “clear to see” the pandemic has altered ways of working, as resources are scattered across the country, and that “permanent change is needed”. 

Justin Small, co-founder of Future Strategy Club, said: “The data shows that there has been a seismic shift in London’s demographics, with huge proportions of young people and office workers migrating out of London for the pandemic. This signals an overall shift in the world of work, that’s unlikely to return to what it was pre-pandemic.

“Work will become more flexible and nomadic, as individuals have learnt more about what they want from their workplace and career. The next year or so will see ongoing options for remote working, increased support for skilled workers, and a boom in freelancing is likely (as there was following the 2008 financial crisis).”

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