Commuting costs the UK £148 billion annually, claims new report

CommutingIn spite of the growth of flexible working in the UK, commuting to an office each day costs British workers and the national economy some £148 billion annually. That is the key finding of a new report from recruitment firm Randstad. The study claims that an average commute for staff in the UK covers around 22 miles, taking around 43 minutes. The report claims that the time spent commuting continues to increase as people move further away from their main place of work, especially in the South East and North West of England. London workers – unsurprisingly – spend more than anybody else on commuting. There are also major differences across sectors with the workers in financial services, accountancy and IT industries subject to the most costly commutes.

Workers in financial services spend an average of one hour commuting 29 miles at an annual cost of £23,032. Next up are accountants (38 minutes at a cost of £14,653) and IT workers (42 minutes at £8,398). The three groups with the least onerous commute are admin and secretarial staff (9 minutes, £2649), retail (21 minutes, £2,509) and customers services staff (11 minutes, £1,736).

The research was carried out as part of a Randstad partnership with the Williams Martini Racing, which compared the speed of travel of F1 drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas to the speed at which commuters get to work. In total, F1 drivers travel an average of 3,791 miles for work over a season, over which time they will complete twenty Grand Prix in locations ranging from Australia to Abu Dhabi. On average, people in IT jobs commute 880 miles over the equivalent twenty day period. And while F1 drivers can reach top speeds of 230 miles per hour on the race track, the average network engineer or IT technician travels at just 31 miles per hour on their commute.

The latest Randstad Award research found that poor work-life balance is one of the top five reasons behind workers choosing to change employer – contributing to just under a quarter (22 percent) of job moves. Furthermore, when looking for a new employer, a good work-life balance was cited as a top five factor for 45 percent of workers in 2015 – compared to 39 percent in 2012. The Award research also discovered that having a lengthy commuting time is more likely to adversely affect senior, more experienced members of staff.  In total, 21 percent of workers in the 45-65 age group said a too-long commute time was one of the top five factors contributing to their decision to move jobs, compared to just 16 percent across the UK workforce as a whole.