Housing crucial for city workers, shows survey

Irene Githinji @gitshee

Employees in Nairobi consider affordable housing as one of the most key factors to consider when deciding where to live and work, a new survey has shown.

The survey conducted by a global consulting firm Mercer, also indicated that housing is closely followed by safety and security, air and water quality, transportation and traffic, and finally life satisfaction.

The study titled ‘People first: Driving growth in emerging megacities’ sampled 7,200 workers and 577 employers in 15 current and future megacities across seven countries, namely Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco and Nigeria.

As defined by the United Nations, the 15 cities are expected to have a combined population of 150 million people by 2030 and share strong projected GDP.

The study revealed six critical findings, including a disconnect between employers and employees in terms of what motivates people to move to a city and to stay there, which is vital to realising economic opportunities and growth.

City leaders and infrastructure planners have since been urged to incorporate the “voice of the employee” into their planning processes in order to better incorporate the human and social factors that drive residency decisions.

“With this in mind, governments and large businesses have a role to play in making cities more attractive in meeting the top needs of employees,” said Francis Omanyala, a Mercer Africa Associate.

Mercer Group President, Martine Ferland said there are unprecedented opportunities in growth markets, yet they come with inherent challenges.

She said the rapid growth of next-generation cities sees them poised to leapfrog larger markets but to do so, there is a need to attract and keep highly-skilled people.

“We learned that employers misunderstand what motivates people to move to a city and stay there. Moreover, cities are not performing well when it comes to addressing many of the more human and social factors that are listed as important among key employee groups.

This dynamic creates natural tensions between what people value most and a city’s ability to deliver,” Ferland said.

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