People would leave big cities if they knew their professional life wouldn't suffer for it, but poor connectivity leaves many dreams of countryside living unrealised

 
Hayley Kirton
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Longing for an escape to the countryside? (Source: Getty)

Many workers would gladly swap city streets for a breath of countryside air if they weren't so concerned about their job prospects, a study out today has found.

The research by Citrix, seen exclusively by City A.M., found that over half (54 per cent) of the 1,243 workers they surveyed would move to a more rural area if they felt confident that they could still perform their job to the same standard and work remotely.

A mixture of lack of connectivity, poor transport links and corporate culture is leaving many dreams of a life in the countryside unrealised, as 59 per cent of workers surveyed also insisted that they had greater potential of securing employment by living in a large city.

"With pressure mounting on major cities and the urban population increasing, it is clear that the government and industry must look to intelligent solutions to relieve this problem," said Jacqueline de Rojas, area vice president, northern Europe at Citrix and president of techUK. "There is no good reason why career success and living rurally should remain mutually exclusive, and if we can bring to an end the necessary migration to large cities for professional success, we have the potential to redistribute economic growth across the UK – supporting our rural communities and growing our talented workforce to also include those who can’t afford or don’t wish to live in large cities."

Matthew Evans, executive director at techUK, added: "Ensuring all workers and all businesses have the connectivity they need is a key part of solving the productivity puzzle. Applying this connectivity to where people are – be it at home, in the office, or on a train – must remain an urgent priority for government and industry if we’re to retain our position as a world leading digital economy."

In a report released in February, the Institute of Directors called on government to boost its ambitions for broadband, suggesting that the speeds it should be aiming to introduce for businesses and households should be 1,000 times faster than current recommendations to make sure the UK stayed competitive.

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