Industry & Business Survey Reveals that Almost Half of Dublin-based Workers Would Leave the Capital For Shorter Commuting Times

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July 24
12:12 2018

A new survey of employees conducted by reveals employees’ strong desire for greater flexibility on when and where they work. The frustration with long commutes during peak hours is such that, when ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, almost half (49%) of Dublin-based workers say that they would leave the capital city if it meant that they could avail of shorter commuting times elsewhere.

The survey shows that almost a quarter of workers (23%) have a commute of at least an hour and that 83% of workers travel to work during peak hours (07:00-09:00).

“Workers are spending large amounts of their day sitting in traffic in their cars or stuffed into congested buses and trains,” said Christopher Paye, General Manager of “Given the impact this has on people’s quality of life, it is no surprise that almost half of Dublin-based workers would be willing to leave the capital to escape the daily stresses of getting to and from work.”

He continued: “Amongst the key objectives of Project Ireland 2040 was to enable people to live closer to where they work, plan for a better distribution of jobs and prosperity, and bring about imaginative urban regeneration in towns and villages across Ireland. These findings show that workers priorities are now aligned with the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 objectives, which is good news for the Government and employers looking to locate their operations outside of Dublin.”

Workers’ desires are aligned with the Ireland 2040 plan

Another central objective of Project Ireland 2040 is enhanced regional accessibility. To achieve this, the government has committed to infrastructure investments such as the M20 Cork to Limerick road and the National Broadband Plan.

“These findings should provide Government with a renewed sense of purpose in delivering upon their efforts toward greater regional development,” Christopher Paye added. “Investment in transport and broadband is particularly urgent and should be expedited to enable more companies and workers to locate outside of the capital.”

The survey will also give comfort to multinationals considering investing in regions outside Dublin.

“In recent years, many large employers looking to recruit for high skilled roles may have felt a pressure to locate operations in Dublin in order to meet their resourcing needs,” he said. “Now they have evidence that workers are willing to move to experience the range of benefits that Ireland’s other cities have to offer, including shorter commutes, lower housing costs and a higher quality of life.”

Workers want to work from home, to travel outside of peak times, and to receive a travel allowance

When employees were asked what measures they would like to see their employer offer to make commuting less stressful, 57% said that they would like the freedom to work from home on certain days, while 36% wanted the ability to travel to work outside of peak commuting times.

“Increasingly, significant amounts of people’s work can be completed online,” said Christopher Paye. “Many people travel into work each morning only to sit at their desk and spend all day on their computer. Unless they have meetings scheduled, there is often no need for a worker to enter the office if they have a good internet connection at home.

“Travelling during peak times also contributes to extended commutes as our transport infrastructure struggles to deal with the large numbers using roads and rail. Allowing workers to travel outside of peak times would ease traffic congestion and reduce time spent commuting for many workers.”

Almost half of workers (49%) now commute by public transport, but 70% of employers provide some form of parking facilities. “Providing parking can be a costly for employers and, increasingly, more workers are using public transport to get to work,” he remarked. “Employers should consider offering incentives for their workers to travel by bus or train. This would be a popular measure, as 60% indicated that they would like to receive a monthly travel allowance from their employer.”

Employers’ responsibility

Despite workers’ frustration with long and unpleasant commutes, and their openness to relocating to a different part of the country for a shorter commute, the large majority are not willing to take a pay cut for a shorter commute. When ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, 72% of workers indicated that they would not accept a pay cut for a shorter commute. This shows that workers believe it is the employers’ responsibility to address this issue by offering more flexible options regarding when and where workers perform their duties.

“With the economy reaching full employment, wages increasing and many sectors of the economy facing skills shortages,” he remarked, “thinking outside the box in terms of where and how you elect to run your company, could give you the edge when recruiting workers.”

Key Elements of Ireland 2040

Ireland 2040 includes a vision and strategy that is supported by a series of National Policy Objectives and will be aligned with the Government’s ten year National Investment Plan. The National Planning Framework seeks to:

  • Guide the future development of Ireland, taking into account a projected 1 million increase in our population, the need to create 660,000 additional jobs to achieve full employment and a need for 550,000 more homes by 2040;
  • Enable people to live closer to where they work, moving away from the current unsustainable trends of increased commuting;
  • Secure more compact forms of urban development in all types of settlements.
  • Regenerate rural Ireland by promoting environmentally sustainable growth patterns;
  • Plan for and implement a better distribution of regional growth, in terms of jobs and prosperity;
  • Transform settlements of all sizes through imaginative urban regeneration and bring life / jobs back into cities, towns and villages;
  • Co-ordinate delivery of infrastructure and services in tandem with growth, through joined-up NPF/National Investment Plan and consistent sectoral plans, which will help to manage this growth and tackle congestion and quality of life issues.

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