How The Reverse Commute Could Benefit Essex

Why Are People Seeking Work Outside Of London?

The pandemic has put an end to the traditional commute, but what kind of an impact is the reverse commute having on the home counties?

The pandemic has changed the way in which we live and work, potentially on a permanent basis. Nowhere has this been felt more urgently than in London. Along with other large cities in the UK, the capital’s decline has caused some residents to abandon ship and seek more space in rural parts of the country. This is a popular move for those with secure jobs who are able to switch to a remote-working role for the foreseeable future. However, not all types of work lend themselves to homeworking. For those who are trying to earn an additional income, or who have already lost work, the reverse commute is a worthwhile option to explore.

What Is The Reverse Commute?

The traditional commute involved people from the home counties, or even further afield, commuting into London for work, whilst living outside of the capital. The reverse commute is literally the opposite – current Londoners who are unable to find work within the city, are now venturing outside of the M25 and into the home counties to work during the day. They then return to London at the end of their shift. With falling rents in London, some capital dwellers have decided to stay and see how Covid-19 pans out whilst saving money on accommodation in the city.

Where Are Londoners Seeking Work?

Essex is top of the list for Londoners who are looking for a new job. With excellent connections from stations such as Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street and the Central line which goes out to Epping, there are plenty of public transport connections available for this reverse commute. Job postings within the capital have dropped by 55% in comparison to the same period of 2019. To compensate for this drop in recruitment, job seekers are looking outwards to counties such as Essex, as well as Kent and Surrey to secure their next position. In fact, there has been a 27% increase in Londoners searching for jobs outside the capital in comparison to 2019.

Types of Industry Work Available

Some sectors within London are still actively recruiting, particularly in finance or tech. However, as you might expect, the effect of the pandemic has caused an enormous downturn in retail activity, which is where many Londoners have lost their work. Low-paid roles such as cleaners, shop assistants, warehouse staff and customer service positions are much less available now in the capital, and it is these roles which are in demand in Essex and other home counties.

Benefiting Essex

Brentwood estate agents predict that any surge in commuting to Essex will increase footfall to the local area, pushing up the economy in our region. For those who secure long-term roles here, there will be a natural shift where Londoners start to resent their commute back into the city after a hard day’s work. Although we’re already enjoying a mass exodus of Londoners seeking rural life, this is likely to be backed up in the coming months and years by a further gradual shift of Londoners who already work in Essex and want to live here too.

Along with most things related to the pandemic, the reverse commute was not something anyone could have predicted, but it does highlight the constant changes people are making in order to make the best of their work-life situation.

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