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Commuting costs IT professionals 4bn in time alone

If people in IT jobs valued the time they spend getting to work as highly as they value the time they spend at work, then the average commute would be worth &pound8,398, according to research from Randstad Technologies, the specialist global recruiter. This lost value represents 19% of their average annual salary.

UK Industry

Average commute time (minutes)

Average commute distance (miles)

Lost value of commute

Commute value as % of annual salary

Financial Services

60

29

&pound23,032

27%

Accountancy

38

17

&pound14,653

17%

IT

42

22

&pound8,398

19%

Construction & Property

56

27

&pound7,228

25%

Engineering

46

25

&pound6,868

20%

Transport

49

35

&pound6,386

22%

UK Average

43

22

&pound5,722

19%

Social care

55

36

&pound5,194

25%

Manufacturing

38

20

&pound4,805

17%

Marketing & PR

48

25

&pound4,347

22%

Legal

27

14

&pound4,308

12%

Education

37

19

&pound3,545

16%

Health

29

15

&pound2,762

13%

Secretarial & Admin

30

9

&pound2,649

13%

Retail

36

21

&pound2,509

16%

Customer Services

25

11

&pound1,736

11%

IT professionals commute for an average of 42 minutes, and 22 miles each way – not dissimilar from the UK average. But they rank third highest in terms of lost value for the time they spend travelling to and from work, reflecting their high value and well-paid average salaries.

The only industries with commutes representing more in terms of lost value per worker are Financial Services (&pound23,032 a year) and Accountancy (&pound14,653 a year).

At the other end of the spectrum, Customer Services professionals – who have some of the shortest commutes in terms of both time spent and distance covered – only miss out on &pound1,736.

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.

Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Technologies, comments: “People working in IT support jobs spend a good proportion of their day getting to and from the office – around 42 minutes each way. As a nation, we are embracing longer commutes to work, particularly as the hunt for cheaper property nudges workers further out into suburbia.  This is particularly true of Tech workers based around Old Street in London – which has seen some of the fastest appreciation in property prices in recent history – but this trend rings true across the country.

“Highly skilled IT workers are much sought after and often well paid, but their expertise comes with a price tag. The time they spend snarled up in traffic has a lost value attached – which adds up to more than &pound8,000 a year per person. Some Tech workers will choose a longer commute while, increasingly, others are valuing their time more highly and looking for a job closer to home.  For those looking for a new job, it’s becoming more important than ever to consider the value of the time it will take them to get to work, as well as the actual cost of the transport, and the new salary. Employers also need to consider the impact of location, as a lengthy daily commute can be enough to persuade workers to look elsewhere – particularly more senior members of staff.”

Work-life balance one of the keys to staff-retention

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%) of job moves. 

Furthermore, when looking for a new employer, a good work-life balance was cited as a top five factor for 45% of workers in 2015 – compared to 39% 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% 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% across the UK workforce as a whole.

Ruth Jacobs comments: “Tech-savvy IT workers are ahead of the curve in maximising their time on the go – through the use of modern technology like tablets – which helps to claw back some of the time they lose commuting. And as our commutes get longer, flexible working is coming into its own – helping workers to reclaim some of their lost time and maintain a better work-life balance. This, in turn, encourages them to work harder, and stay longer in a role. 

“Some of our most highly regarded employers – such as John Lewis and British Airways – already recognize and cater for the growing trend to flexible working. In the Technology sphere, Google are leading this charge, removing the barriers to flexible working and supporting their staff to maximise their productivity. Having a reputation as an innovative employer with a modern attitude to working not only helps employers to be more time-efficient, it helps them to attract the best new staff in the first place.”

IT workers keen to find out how long their commute to work would take if an F1 driver was behind the wheel, should try out Randstad’s F1 competition:

https://www.randstad.co.uk/about-us/our-sponsorships/williams-martini-competition/

And for the chance to win a VIP race day experience with Williams Martini Racing in Monaco, including flights between London Gatwick and Nice and accommodation at the Hotel Suisse Nice for three nights in the Mediterranean sunshine, City professionals can upload their CV to the Randstad site.

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