(Bloomberg) -- Nearly three-quarters of London’s workers would rather quit their jobs than return to the office full-time, a survey revealed, with many demanding inflation-busting pay hikes to give up their right to flexible working.
The research by Bloomberg Intelligence found that employees in the capital are confident in their bargaining power amid a tight labor market and widespread working-from-home following the Covid pandemic.
In a survey of 500 office workers in the capital, 73% said they’d seek alternative employment if told to work five days a week on-site. Four in 10 of those workers would need a raise of at least 16% to reconsider their position.
Higher-paid staff were more likely to push for even bigger raises if told to give up home-working, BI said, while women said they’d need stronger incentives than men.
“London employers may need to keep flexible-work arrangements permanently in order to retain talent,” said the report by BI’s Susan Munden and Sirine Bouzid. They added that the capital’s employment rate is nearly 76% while its wages rose 6.4% in the three months to November.
Read More: UK Wages Rise More Than Expected in Added Sign of Inflation
Despite an economic slump and forecasts of a shallow recession, joblessness is low across most of the UK with employers frequently complaining of a skills shortage.
The cost of commuting was cited by over-two thirds of the workers as a key reason for not traveling into the office. Rail fares will rise by as much as 5.9% in England next month.
Over 95% of respondents said that they are allowed to work from home at least some of the time, the survey said. Still, the proportion of staff working fully remotely for London’s businesses fell to 19% from 24% in June.
(Adds chart and details on wage increases and labor shortages.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.