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Study Notes

What are the main causes of geographical immobility in the UK labour market?

AS, A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 22 Sept 2023

This study note looks at geographical immobility which is a cause of labour market failure.

Geographical immobility in the UK labour market refers to the difficulty workers face in moving from one location to another in search of employment opportunities.

Several factors contribute to geographical immobility in the UK labour market:

  1. Housing Costs: High housing costs in certain regions, particularly major cities like London, can be a significant barrier to mobility. Workers may be hesitant to move to areas with expensive housing, even if job opportunities are more abundant, due to concerns about affordability. This affordability issue affects both property to buy and especially to rent.
  2. Family and Social Ties: Many individuals have strong family and social ties in their current location. Moving away from friends and family can be emotionally challenging and may deter individuals from seeking employment in other regions.
  3. Educational Institutions: Families with school-age children may be reluctant to relocate if it means disrupting their children's education. Access to quality schools and educational institutions can influence decisions about moving.
  4. Cost of Living: Beyond housing costs, the overall cost of living can vary significantly across regions. High living costs, including transportation, healthcare, and childcare, can discourage individuals from relocating to areas with a higher cost of living.
  5. Limited Access to Transportation: In some rural or less densely populated areas, limited access to public transportation can make it challenging for individuals to commute to work, especially if they do not own a car. Immobility can also be due to high costs of commuting as well as the lack of an integrated transport sector.

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