London cheaper option for expats in global cost of living rankings

Credit card payment-2Living in London as an expat has become a more attractive choice on the basis of the cost of living in 375 global cities.

London has moved down from 12th to be 17th most expensive city to live and work as an expatriate in the annual rankings by HR and consulting company Mercer.  But it is still the most expensive city in Europe with the exception of those in Switzerland – Zurich, Geneva and Bern are higher up the cost league.

Other UK cities have also become comparatively cheaper.  Aberdeen has move down to 85 from 82 last year and Birmingham is 96th in 2016 compared to 80th in 2015.  Mercer say that the strength of the pound against the dollar in the past 12 months has been a factor as dollars are used as the base currency for calculations.

The most expensive city in the world for an expat is Hong Kong, according to Mercer research. Last year’s most expensive city, Luanda, drops to second place.  Five of the top ten are Asian cities, three of them in China.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – 10 most expensive
City Country Continent
1 Hong Kong China Asia
2 Luanda Angola Africa
3 Zurich Switzerland Europe
4 Singapore Singapore Asia
5 Tokyo Japan Asia
6 Kinshasa Dem Republic of Congo Africa
7 Shanghai China Asia
8 Geneva Switzerland Europe
9 N’Djamena Chad Africa
10 Beijing China Asia

In Europe, apart from the Swiss cities and London, the only cities in the top 50 globally are  Copenhagen, Paris and Dublin.

Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2016 – Europe’s most expensive
City Country
Zurich Switzerland
Geneva Switzerland
Bern Switzerland
London UK
Copenhagen Denmark
Paris France
Milan Italy
Vienna Austria
Rome Italy
Oslo Norway

The survey looks at the cost of 200 items in each city including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.  The cost of housing helped push Hong Kong to the top of the rankings, but London comes out as expensive for a number of everyday purchases.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 16.36.22

Source data

See also

London expensive? Not compared to being an expat in Luanda

How London compares for the cost of public transport

London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

Unemployment down but what’s really happening in job market?

shutterstock_131096951-1-2The unemployment rate in London fell slightly in the last quarter but the city still has the second highest rate of joblessness in the UK at 5.9%. Behind this headline rate is a more complex picture of the jobs market in the capital.

The unemployment rate for the whole of the UK for January to March this year was 5%, the lowest level since 2005, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.  At 5.9% London has the second highest rate along with Yorkshire and Humberside and only the North East of England has a higher rate – 7.3%.

This means 280,000 people in London are without work.  But only 85,000, of them are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, the benefit for the unemployed.

Despite having one of the highest unemployment rates, the benefit claimant rate is among the lowest in the country.  Only the South East and the East of England have lower proportions of benefit claimants and these regions also have the lowest unemployment rates.

Yorkshire and Humberside has the same unemployment rate as London but 2.8% claiming benefits compared to 1.8% in the capital.

Uemployment and claimants

There are a number of reasons for the difference between unemployment and benefit claimants. Many of them will be common for the country, some of them may be more peculiar to London.

The most obvious difference between the two rates is who is included. The unemployment figures include all those able to work between the ages of 16 and 64 but those under 18 are, in most circumstances, excluded from claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. In London this accounts for 9,000 people in the unemployed numbers.

Part time work is also a factor.  People working more than 16 hours per week cannot claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.  This may exclude people working in unpredictable and short term, part time jobs who may be unemployed for periods but not eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance. People on zero-hours contracts may also be impacted by this.

The residence qualification may also be a factor, particularly in London.  To claim Jobseeker’s Allowance a person must be resident in the UK for at least 3 months. London has a high number of young workers from the EU, particularly southern Europe.  They would not be eligible to claim benefits when they first arrive to start seeking work.

The other key factor is the natural churn of the workforce.  The unemployment figures include people who have found work but not yet started. A number who are between jobs will not go through the process of making a claim for benefits.

London is the leading place in the UK for job creation. Since December 55,000 new jobs have been created. Over the same period the number of people who are economically active and available for work has risen by 50,000.

The Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility have a target rate of 5% for sustainable unemployment – the rate at which people who want a job have one and any lower rate may mean wage inflation.

London may be approaching ‘peak job’ but what may matter more to employers and employees are the quality of the jobs, the wages and the productivity.

Source data

See also

Jobs growth brings decade-high employment rate for young people

Success of creative industries is good news for jobs growth in the capital

Over 750,000 jobs pay less than the living wage in the capital

 

Jobs growth brings decade-high employment rate for young people

women jobless 1

The proportion of young people in work in London is at its highest rate for nearly a decade.  Employment rates have been climbing steadily since the recession and annual figures from the ONS show that 457,000 16-24 year olds were in work in 2015.

Although London presents financial challenges for millennials who want to live and work here, the data from the Annual Population Survey reveals they are finding work at a better rate than at any time since 2006.

It has taken almost a decade for the employment rate of London’s young workforce to hit similar heights as 2006 when 47.4% of them had jobs. After a drop in youth employment rates following the financial crisis of 2008, the picture has gradually become brighter with 47.1% of the capital’s 16-24 year olds now working – a 3.8% increase from the previous year.

employment 16-24-2

The rate of increase for young women in particular has been higher with 5% more in jobs than 2014.

The steady increase in youth employment over the past six years may have contributed to a drop in the proportion of 16-24 year olds who are NEET status (not in employment, education or training).  In 2014, 5000 fewer young people were NEET throughout the capital compared to the previous year as the total number of youngsters with jobs increased by 17,400.  

At the end of 2015 London had the lowest proportion of England’s 16-24 year olds who were NEET at 9.4% 

The proportion of 16-24 year olds in work in the capital is below the national average of 53.5% but London has historically had a much higher rate of people of this age remaining in full-time education than other regions, keeping them out of the workforce.

Source data

See also

Mayoral Election Issues: The Economy and Jobs

Success of creative industries is good news for jobs growth in the capital

Over 750,000 jobs pay less than the living wage in the capital

 

 

Mayoral Election Issues: The Economy and Jobs

Bike work-2London’s economy has changed dramatically in the last 30 years, and the incoming mayor will need to balance the ongoing boom in jobs with concerns over wages, affordability and equality.

The London jobs market has grown by 28% in 30 years. There are an estimated 5.3 million people working in London, up from 4.1 million in 1984.  In that time London has seen a massive expansion in professional roles and the collapse of manufacturing[1].

In 1984 manufacturing accounted for 11% of the jobs in London and was the biggest sector of the workforce. By 2013 it was just 2% of the workforce, and had seen a fall in job numbers of 74%.

Meanwhile the expansion of the professional, scientific and technical sector has seen 500,000 new jobs created. This sector includes jobs in real estate and shows an overall growth of more than 150%. Construction in the same period grew by just 20%. There are, it would appear, more jobs in selling houses than building them.

Other big growth sectors underline the changing nature of the workplace. Information and communication roles grew by 85% while admin and support jobs more than doubled. Sectors that have shrunk include those covering the public sector, down by 21% and transport and storage, which has fallen by 13%.

These trends are forecast to continue over the next 20 years[2]. In that time London will experience a 16% growth in the employment market creating nearly a million new jobs. This growth in employment to 6.4 million by 2036 will be driven by the professional sector, real estate and scientific and technical roles.

Demonstrating the shifting nature of work in the capital some sectors will see a decline. The reduction in manufacturing, will fall further, by 54%. That’s around 72,000 posts. Finance jobs are also forecast to shrink by around 9,000.

Economy 1-2

The figures come from the GLA’s Employment Projection for 2015 which forecasts that jobs growth will be concentrated in inner London. Tower Hamlets stands out with an estimated 74% employment growth, adding 200,000 new jobs. That’s nearly a quarter of all the new posts in London for the period.

Economy 2-2

But, as the map shows, many boroughs are predicted to show very low levels of job growth. And two, Croydon and Barking and Dagenham are expected to see a decline in employment, in line with current trends.

Eonomy 3-2

These trends take place against the backdrop of a very mixed picture for skills and wages across the capital.

The continuing boom in professional and technical jobs requires a highly qualified workforce.  In general, London is well equipped to supply this, with better skills than the rest of the UK. Nearly half the working-age population has a degree-level or equivalent qualification[3].

The proportion of people educated and trained to this level (so-called level 4+) has been rising over recent years and remains consistently above the UK average.

Data from the Annual Population Survey from the Office for National Statistics shows London reached 49% with level 4+ qualifications by the end of 2014.

Economy 4-2

However, this qualifications map varies across the capital. 9 boroughs in the centre and South West have more than 60% of the workforce with qualifications at level 4+. These include Wandsworth, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, City of London, Richmond and Lambeth.  However Havering, Barking and Dagenham, and Bexley have levels below the national average and half the level of the best-qualified boroughs.

economy 5-2

Conversely, these boroughs have high numbers with no qualifications.  In Barking & Dagenham it is twice the national average

economy 6-2

From qualifications flow wage levels.  Full time pay in London is, not surprisingly, the highest in the UK at £16.61 per hour compared to £13.36[4].  However, if you live in Newham or Barking and Dagenham you are likely to earn less than the national average. The hourly full time median rate is Newham is £12.90, yet across the river in Greenwich it is £3 higher.

Economy 7-2

This pattern is repeated among part time workers.  A quarter of London jobs are part time, and average pay plummets from the £16.61 for full time posts to just £9.22.  Again, for part time workers in East London boroughs many are earning below the national average.  Workers in Newham are earning less than any of the UK’s regions, including the North East, despite far higher living costs.

Economy 8

The current Mayor has been an advocate of the London Living Wage, a voluntary pay level currently set at £9.40 and not to be confused with the Government’s recently introduced National Living Wage for over 25s of £7.20 per hour.

Data from the most recent ONS Annual Survey on Hours and Earnings[5] revealed that more than three quarters of a million jobs in the capital were paying below the London Living Wage.  Women and the Under 24s are more likely to be in jobs that pay below the LLW, and many are in the sectors that are growing rapidly – food and accommodation, social care and cleaning.

10% of Londoners were still earning less than the National Minimum Wage, rising to 21% in Newham[6].

When it comes to the economy and employment the new Mayor will be dealing with two Londons.  At one end of the scale, a growth in highly skilled, well paid professional jobs placing pressures on the availability and cost of housing.  At the other end of the scale, a low skill, low pay workforce struggling to afford to live in the city.

Source data

[1] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/london-s-sectors/resource/d1295586-bfe3-4539-a522-4403b0b692bb

[2] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/gla-employment-projections

[3] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/london-labour-market-indicators/resource/877e7afb-adf2-445f-b8ea-7486db267a35

[4] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/earnings-place-residence-borough/resource/1686ef1c-b169-442d-8877-e7e49788f668

[5]http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/regional-trends/london-analysis/estimates-of-employee-jobs-paid-less-than-the-living-wage-in-london-and-other-parts-of-the-uk/art-london-analysis.html

[6] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/percentage-people-low-income-borough/resource/f83b860c-147a-4fe6-988d-5325a87b4983

This report was produced in association with London Live’s special election programme, London Votes.

Success of creative industries is good news for jobs growth in the capital

loreanto shutterstock_237302122-2

Photo: Loreanto ┃Shutterstock.com

The creative industries are growing at twice the rate of the wider UK economy and that’s very good news for London which is the heartland of the sector.

Latest government figures show that the UK’s creative industries grew by 8.9% in 2014, the strongest performance of any sector. They are now worth £84.1 billion a year to the economy.

The creative industries were defined by the government at the start of the century as those based upon individual creativity, skill and talent that have the potential to create jobs and wealth through the exploitation of intellectual property.

If that all sounds a bit technical it boils down to things like the music, film, TV, video games, visual arts and the fashion industry. It also includes architecture, craft and design companies. But the biggest part is IT, software and computer services.

There were 1.8 million jobs in the creative industries in the UK in 2014, when they were last counted, and most of them were in London. The last few years has also seen a substantial rate of growth in the East and West Midlands, the South West and the North East.

creative industries

The creative industries account for 11.8% of the jobs in the London economy, a much higher proportion than any other regions.  So, the continued success of this sector is particularly vital for the capital.

Source data

See also

Economic growth carries risk for culture and creativity, says report

Shrinking public sector employment outdone by private sector jobs growth

Self employed map shows huge rise in parts of city

 

Huge pay gap in hourly rates between full time and part time workers

Daniel Wilson shutterstock_95849584-1-2-1People working part time are paid a little over half the hourly rate of those working in full-time employment, and the gap between full time and part time rates is wider in London than any area of the country.

Latest figures for earnings from the Office for National Statistics show that the median hourly rate in London is £9.22 if you work part time but £16.16 for those with a full-time job.

A quarter of the jobs in London are part time and many of them are low skilled. That’s 1.24 million jobs, with some people doing more than one to make up full time hours but being paid a fraction of what they might earn as a full time employee.

In London the gap in hourly rates of pay is 43% but in every other region of the country it is 40% of less. In the South West of England part time workers earn an hourly rate of 68% the full time rate, compared to 57% in London.

The median hourly rate for part time work in the capital is just 14p higher than the next nearest region, the South East of England, but £1.20 higher than the lowest paid region, the North East.

Hourly earnings part time regional

The figures are based on a sample of PAYE records and the ONS calculates a median, or mid point, rather than an average, which might be distorted by a small number of very high rates.

People living in Newham have a lower hourly part time rate than any region of the country and are typically being paid less than those living in Newcastle or Sunderland, where the cost of living is lower.

The rate is only a little higher in neighbouring Tower Hamlets and across the capital median hourly rates for part time workers are below the London Living Wage in 15 of the 33 boroughs – Croydon, Merton, Greenwich, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Hounslow, Ealing, Brent, Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Enfield and Waltham Forest.

Hourly earnings part time map

The Greater London Authority sets the London Living Wage. It is a voluntary rate and promoted by the Mayor, who is trying to get employers to sign up. At the time of the earnings survey in April the London Living Wage was £9.15. It was increased to £9.40 in October.

As previously reported by Urbs, there are three quarters of a million jobs in London paying less than the Living Wage.  Data shows that women are more likley than men to be in low paid work, and nearly half of those working for less than the London Living Wage are under 24.

Source data

See also

Lowest paid living in Newham as rates remain static across capital

Over 750,000 jobs pay less than the living wage in the capital

Buying a home gets further out of reach, now 11 times annual salary

 

 

Lowest paid living in Newham as rates remain static across capital

Pay ShaunWilkinson shutterstock_207548536-1-2

Photo: Shaun Wilkinson ┃Shutterstock.com

The lowest paid full time workers in London appear to be living in Newham. Hourly rates of pay for residents of the East London borough are lower than the typical rate for the UK generally at £12.90.

People living in the City of London or the best-paid borough, Westminster, are typically earning in excess of £250 per week more with an hourly rate of pay over £20.

The figures are revealed in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office for National Statistics. They are based upon a sample of PAYE tax records and are considered the most reliable guide to pay rates.

Newham is not the only London borough where the median pay rate is below the rate for the UK generally. In Barking and Dagenham the full time hourly rate is £13.31, that’s 5p per hour below the UK median rate.

In contrast, across the river from Newham, the hourly rate in Greenwich is £3 higher.

Hourly pay full time London map

The median rate in Brent is below £14 per hour. In Enfield, Haringey, Waltham Forest, Hounslow and Ealing it is below £15.

Outside the centre, rates are highest in a pocket of South West London. Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond and Wandsworth have rates above £19 per hour. In Hammersmith and Fulham it is above £18.

The ONS uses a median rate or mid point rather than calculating an average, which would be distorted by a small number of very highly paid people. The rates are before tax and do not include overtime.

Rates of pay in London remain higher than the rest of the country. The London-wide median rate for full time employment is £16.16, £1.44 per hour more than the next nearest region, the South East of England, and £4.15 more than the lowest paid region, Northern Ireland.

Hourly rates full time regional

The median rate across the UK moved very little in the past year, rising by just 1.5% but that is 5 times higher than London where the hourly rate rose by just 5p since 2014.

Source data

See also

Over 750,000 jobs pay less than the living wage in the capital

Paying the rent takes up 72% of income for private tenants

Economic growth carries risk for culture and creativity, says report

AstroStar shutterstock_251095102-2

Photo: AstroStar ┃Shutterstock.com

The economic success of London may be coming at a cost to the culture and creativity of the city. This is the warning in a report by the World Cities Culture Forum, a network of 27 cities, including London, that share research to help develop policy.

In its 2015 report, published to coincide with a summit meeting in London, it says that the capital’s growth poses significant challenges with pressure on housing and transport, and many people priced out of the city centre.

As reported by Urbs, the affordability of housing means younger people, in particular, find trouble finding a place to live, with many moving back in with parents after finishing higher education.

The report observes that the rising cost of living makes it very difficult for those working in the creative industries to find not only a home but also a space to work. It says, “For some years, places like London and New York have been replacing studios with apartments, artists with bankers. Estimates suggest that in the next four years, London will lose around 30% of its current artists’ workspace.”

The forum says that the emergence of ‘tech city’ in East London in the 1990s demonstrated the value of low cost workspace. Without it cities are prevented form nurturing radical and provocative ideas.

According to data analysis by the WCCF, London has the highest proportion of people working in the creative industries of any of its 27 city members. It says that 16.2% of the London workforce is in the creative industries, according to data from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

creative industries employment

Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the LSE says, “The contribution of London’s creative industries to national productivity 
and its ability to attract young and global workforce are central to its survival as a world city.”


Surveys have shown that people globally rate London highly as a city to come to work, as previously reported by Urbs. The cultural and creative life of the city plays a part in their decision.

The report says that while some cities are now making low cost work space a priority they are failing to solve the problem of affordable housing for their artists, producers and young creative talent.

London data

World Cities Culture Forum 2015 report

See also

Where in the world would you like to work?

London leads Europe but lags behind US as tech start up base, says survey

 

 

The city’s workforce: best qualified in the UK and getting smarter

shutterstock_131096951-1-2

Photo: pcruciatti ┃Shutterstock.com

London has the best-qualified workforce in the UK. Nearly half the working-age population has a degree-level or equivalent qualification.

The proportion of people educated and trained to this level (so-called level 4+) has been rising over recent years and remains consistently above the UK average.

Data based on the Annual Population Survey from the Office for National Statistics shows London reached 49% with level 4+ qualifications by the end of last year.

Qualifications 4+ chart

Levels are far higher in some areas of the capital. 9 boroughs in the centre and South West have more than 60% of the workforce with qualifications at level 4+. These include Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, City of London, Richmond and Lambeth. But top spot goes to Wandsworth where almost 70% of people aged 16-64 have a degree or equivalent.

Only Havering, Barking and Dagenham, and Bexley have levels below the national average.

Qualifications 4+ map

The proportion of people with no qualifications was stable through 2013 and 2014 at 8%, a little below the national average. In Barking and Dagenham the rate is nearly double that at just below 16%. Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Haringey all have more than 10% of the working population with no qualifications, which is above the national average.

Qualitfications none map

The skills levels of the London workforce has been praised by foreign business owners as an incentive for operating in the city, according to a survey conducted by the GLA, previously reported by Urbs.

Source data

See also

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce

New workers stick together and head north of river as they settle in the capital

How London boroughs will rival the ‘Northern Powerhouse’

North and East see growth in number of businesses

house plans 2Business growth across London has been more successful in the north and east of the capital in the past 6 years than the south and west.

The number of businesses has contracted in some central areas and fallen by 32% in the City. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the largest growth in the number of individual business units between 2009-2015 was in Camden and Lambeth.

But a crescent of boroughs from Harrow in the north to Greenwich in the south east have seen growth above 20% since 2009 and in a number, including Newham and Redbridge, it is over 30%. At the same time there has been just single digit growth on the opposite side of the city.

Business unit growth

The data shows that there are currently 461,020 businesses in London. It’s the largest number of any UK region and the equivalent of the combined number for North West England, Yorkshire and Humberside.

More that 10% of businesses are in Westminster, and it has 10 times more than Barking and Dagenham, which has the fewest with 5,865.

Business unit numbers 2

The largest sector in terms of numbers of businesses in the capital is Professional, Scientific and Technical services, as it is in the UK as a whole. In London this accounts for 24% of all business. In the City of London this sector is 40% of all business units.

Information and Communication services is London’s second biggest sector with 13% of all businesses. Business administration and support, and construction are third and fourth. Across the country, construction is the second biggest industry sector in terms of numbers of businesses and retail makes up a higher proportion of businesses than in does in London.

Source data

Jobs forecast shows Tower Hamlets as engine of employment growth

Jobs concentrated in just 5 of London’s 33 boroughs

Shrinking public sector employment outdone by private sector jobs growth