Relocating leads to staff defections

In a survey of management consultancies – including five accountancy firms with consulting arms – GVA found nearly one quarter of employees would change jobs if their firms relocated to offices out of the City

Reasons for relocating included lower rents and, ironically, trading the location for more spacious offices, which they feel would help in staff retention.

But 22% of respondents said they would seriously consider changing employer to avoid having to work in a less central location. If these employees were to resign, replacing them would cost one and a half times their salaries, according to people management consultants the Hay Group.

GVA estimated a London-based consultancy with employees earning an average of £90,000 per year could pay up to £14m in staff replacement costs on a poorly-judged relocation, 13.2% of their fee income. The bill would increase if you added the customer defections an lower productivity generated by these. On top of that would be costs associated with moving.

The property advisers found the further away from central London a firm moves, the higher the potential relocation costs. Moving to an area in the outskirts of London would be higher than relocating to Hammersmith, they said.

Stephen Robinson, senior partner at GVA said: ‘Consultancy firms seeking to take advantage of lower rents and more space in less central locations must ensure that they take account of the full financial implications of such a move.’

He added: ‘The primary reason that time-pressured London consultants are so reluctant to move away from central locations is their concern over transport. Our research shows that shorter journey time is the most important factor after a salary increase that temps professionals to move firms.’

A spokeswoman from GVA told the survey was conducted after the advisers discovered that an office park beside the M25, was having difficulties finding takers for its office space.


GVA Grimley International Property Advisers

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