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Move or Lose: 2 in 3 Workers Eye New Cities as Quality of Living Index Reveals Surprising Winners

A comprehensive study by Totaljobs unveils the best cities for work-life balance in the UK, highlighting surprising winners and the factors driving workers to consider moving.

2 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  1. Edinburgh secures the top spot in the Totaljobs Quality of Living Index, offering the best work-life balance and access to affordable housing.
  2. London remains attractive for high salaries but ranks last in overall quality of living factors.
  3. Rising living costs drive workers to consider relocation, with affordability and pay rise incentives leading the way.

Exploring the Totaljobs Quality of Living Index

In a bid to identify the cities in the UK that offer the best work-life balance, Totaljobs has released its inaugural Quality of Living Index. The index ranks 15 UK cities based on various quality of life factors, aiming to assist employers in showcasing the benefits of their area and attract a talented pool of potential employees open to relocation. The results reveal both expected and unexpected winners, shedding light on the evolving preferences of workers in pursuit of a better quality of living.

Edinburgh Takes the Lead, London Lags Behind

Edinburgh emerges as the frontrunner, securing the top spot in the Quality of Living Index. The Scottish capital offers residents higher rates of local happiness, affordable housing options, and a commendable commute experience. On the other hand, London maintains its appeal for job opportunities and high earning potential, yet falls to the bottom of the list when considering overall quality of living factors. This ranking highlights a growing shift in preferences, with regional stars like Plymouth and Glasgow outshining the bustling capital.

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Rising Costs and the Drive to Relocate

The study emphasizes the impact of rising living costs on people’s decisions to reconsider their current locations. The survey reveals that two-thirds of workers (65%) are open to relocation, citing affordable living costs and a pay rise as their primary motivations for a move. Dissatisfaction with high housing and rent costs (23%) and everyday living expenses (22%) contributes to workers seeking alternative areas to call home. Londoners, in particular, express a high openness to relocation (71%), reflecting the financial strain caused by the city’s high living costs.

Generation Relocation: Impact on Younger Workers

The research highlights the disproportionate impact of living costs on younger workers aged 18-34. This age group shows a lower level of satisfaction with their local cities compared to those aged 55 and above. Concerns regarding housing and rent costs (26%) and everyday living expenses (24%) weigh heavily on the younger generation. Consequently, 75% of “Zillenials” (18–34-year-olds) are considering relocation, a 10% increase compared to the national average. The cost-of-living crisis has resulted in significant delays in major life milestones, such as property ownership (32%) and starting a family (24%).

Employers’ Opportunity and Responsibility

Julius Probst, European labor market Economist at Totaljobs, emphasizes the importance for employers to adapt to the changing landscape. Rising living costs and cultural shifts, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted workers to prioritize work-life balance and satisfaction. Employers can seize this opportunity by showcasing the unique benefits of their cities and addressing key factors that motivate workers to relocate, including affordable living costs, higher salaries, generous benefits packages, relocation assistance, and flexible work arrangements. By understanding and catering to the evolving needs of workers, employers can attract committed individuals seeking a better quality of life.

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In a dynamic market, the Totaljobs Quality of Living Index serves as a valuable tool for employers, allowing them to tap into a talent pool open to relocation and find the right fit for their organizations.

About the Research

The Totaljobs Quality of Living Index combines data from various sources, including Stratigens, OTT, the Office for National Statistics, Numbeo, and a survey of 5,000 UK workers conducted in March 2023. The index takes into account factors such as housing costs, living expenses, and job opportunities. The top 15 cities were selected based on region, population, and relevance to employers. The Quality of Living Index score represents a normalized, weighted index from 1 to 10, providing insights into the work-life balance and quality of life in each city.

About Totaljobs

Totaljobs, part of the global recruitment technology company StepStone, is a trusted recruitment solutions partner. With a consultative approach, Totaljobs identifies hiring needs and supports clients throughout the attraction, hiring, and retention processes, ensuring the right job fit for everyone.


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