Workplace commute and connectivity key to winning Europe’s battle for talent

Workplace commute and connectivity key to winning Europe’s battle for talent

According to Savills latest What Workers Want report, landlords and occupiers across Europe need to focus on workplace location, connectivity and layout in order to win the battle for talent.


The report, which analyses data sourced by YouGov from 11,000 workers across Savills European office markets, reveals that 40% of Europe’s workers are expected to leave their current job within the next five years. Swedish (52%), Irish (49%) and British (49%) workers are most likely to move jobs before then, whilst Spanish (25%) and Italian (28%) workers are the least likely.


Savills notes that different industries offer further variations of this analysis, with respondents within the creative and media (49%), tech (44%) and financial services (40%) sectors being more likely to leave within the next five years, whilst legal (34%) and Government (33%) sector workers are less likely.


“As unemployment levels across the continent hit a ten year low, there is no surprise that unlike previous generations, employees now are less committed to staying with the same company for the long term,” commented Mike Barnes, associate, Savills European research. “Employees are of course a company’s most valuable asset which means the pressure to attract and retain the very best workforce is now creating one of the most significant managerial challenges.’


With this in mind, Savills What Workers Want report has delved into what the differentiating factors are for employees, remuneration aside when it comes to the workplace. Beyond the basics of providing a clean, comfortable, secure workplace, unsurprisingly, the length of commute - and office location - was the most important factor, with 86% of Europe’s workers considering this to be of high importance.  Savills analysed the commuting patterns across Europe, which revealed that 44% of commuters take more than half an hour each way and 61% of workers would not add more than 15 minutes to their commute each way for their ideal workplace. The financial cost of commuting to work was also high on the agenda, with 79% considering this a key differentiator. The report concluded that in fact, once European workers have got their commutes below 15 minutes, they are almost half as likely to leave their jobs within the next ten years.


In terms of location, Savills claims that 54% of office workers interviewed would most like to spend the majority of their working time in a town/city centre. Local amenities, good public transport links, business clusters and “buzz factor” are all drivers behind the preference for city centre working. Savills also notes that despite popular belief, there is a very little variation in preference by age. 57% of 25-34-year-olds most prefer working in a city centre, against 55% of age 55+.


Jeremy Bates, EMEA head of Occupational Markets at Savills, commented: “The outlook for employment in Europe is strong but with real estate factors now being a key differentiator in the war for talent, there is a race for space in Europe’s CBDs, which is squeezing vacancy rates to record lows. With occupancy costs on the rise in Europe’s CBDs, businesses are now having to plan increasingly in advance of their lease expires and engage in strategic planning to secure continuity.”

In a rapidly evolving digital economy, where technology is increasingly central to operations, it also of no surprise to see that the tech infrastructure of a workplace ranks as the second (83%) most important factor for workers. “In terms of fast and reliable connectivity, the quality of wifi-technology is the oxygen of modern business,” informed David Garland, senior partnerships manager, WiredScore. “This is being driven by three things: the widespread transition to cloud-based applications, smart devices and flexible workspaces.”


Savills What Workers Want report has also unveiled that workers across Europe feel it highly important (82%) to have ‘a quiet space for focused work and space in which they feel most productive’.


Leyre Octavio de Toledo, Head of Workplace Strategy & Architecture, Savills Spain, advised: “People are the heart and soul of the workplace and our experience continues to prove that when companies invest in providing workers with variety and flexibility of workspace, it improves their wellbeing and enables them to function at their highest level.”  

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