High rents in large cities exacerbate the shortage of skilled workers

As of: February 25, 2024 11:39 a.m

Many people can no longer afford the high rents in metropolitan areas and large cities. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, this is increasingly becoming a problem for companies.

According to a study, high rents in major German cities are a hurdle for companies in the struggle for skilled workers. According to a new survey by the auditing firm PwC, many people see expensive housing as a key disadvantage of life in the big city.

So much so that a third are thinking about changing jobs because of high rents – a small minority actually move because of this. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for employers in metropolitan areas to find and retain skilled workers,” the authors conclude. In addition, employees have high expectations of employers to provide financial help because of the high housing costs.

Affordable apartment “just a matter of luck”

For the study, 4,200 working people in Germany between the ages of 18 and 65 from twelve major cities were surveyed online on behalf of PwC in the fall – including Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Essen, Leipzig and Hanover. According to the information, the study was representative. Result: The vast majority of people rate life in the big city as pleasant – for example the job opportunities, short commutes, shopping opportunities and educational and cultural offerings. Around nine out of ten working people feel comfortable where they live.

But at the same time, almost two thirds are dissatisfied with rents, the costs of home ownership and the number of available rental apartments. Almost 90 percent have the feeling that finding an affordable apartment in big cities is “just a matter of luck”. The housing market in Stuttgart and Munich is perceived as particularly difficult.

Changing thoughts especially common among boys and in Berlin

Some employees take the consequences. According to the survey, one or every ninth person (eleven percent) has already changed jobs because rents in the region are too high – in the group aged 18 to 34 this figure is 17 percent. A third have already thought about it (18 to 34: 41 percent).

The willingness to change is particularly high in Berlin: 19 percent there have changed jobs because of high rents. 36 percent thought about it in the capital; the proportion was only higher in Stuttgart (38 percent). When employees consider moving for work reasons, affordable rents are the deciding factor for 60 percent.

PwC believes that medium-sized companies, which are often not located in major cities, could benefit from this. “In the competition for suitable young talent, they can score points with affordable rents,” says Bernd Roese, head of the PwC Frankfurt office. But that doesn’t apply to all big cities. “In Munich or Berlin, the so-called bacon belt is almost as expensive as the metropolises themselves.”

Clear demands on politicians and employers

In the fight for affordable housing, those surveyed see both employers and the public sector as having a duty. 88 percent demand that politicians focus these housing construction programs more on households with small and middle incomes.

The demands on employers are also high: 82 percent are in favor of companies covering travel costs, and a similar number would like rent subsidies. 79 percent are in favor of companies providing company housing and financing home office equipment.

Patricia Verne, SWR, tagesschau, February 25, 2024 11:33 a.m

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