Western Development Commission Releases New Report on the Impacts of Remote Work on Relocation Patterns in Ireland

The Western Development Commission has released a new report which presents further analyses of relocation trends and patterns drawing on data from the 2023 National Remote Work Survey undertaken in collaboration with the University of Galway.

The report sheds light on the significant impact of remote work on relocation. Key findings indicate that 14% of respondents have relocated based on their experience of remote working since the COVID-19 pandemic, and 63.5% of those relocated from Dublin. Top destinations for relocating to included Cork, Galway, Kildare, Mayo, and Donegal.

The analysis reveals an interesting socio-economic profile of those who have relocated:

—  they’re generally younger, 33.5% aged 34 yrs and under;
—  less likely to have children, 61% did not have dependent children;
—  have a higher level of formal education; 45% have a masters or doctoral degree;
—  and they are concentrated in 3 of 14 sectors: 22.6% in ICT, 19.9% in Professional, Scientific and Technical and 17.5% in Financial, Insurance and Real Estate.

Deirdre Frost, a Policy Analyst at the Western Development Commission and author of the report underscores the potentially transformative impact of remote work revealed by the latest report. Deirdre states, “What was initially a policy tool for regional development has evolved into a significant driver behind relocation patterns. The data shows how the extensive remote working practices since the start of COVID-19 have enabled relocation with individuals actively embracing the flexibility offered by remote work.”.

Deirdre also notes that motivations for relocation are also likely to include improved quality of life, a return to hometown roots, and housing affordability. The frequency of office attendance may also influence relocation choices, with Kildare emerging as the third most popular county for relocation in 2023.

Allan Mulrooney, CEO of the Western Development Commission, reflects on the survey’s findings and their implications for the Western region, “The West of Ireland has proven resilient, with counties such as Galway and Donegal emerging as attractive destinations for remote workers. This survey underscores the benefits that remote work brings to the West, offering a unique opportunity for individuals to embrace a lifestyle that marries professional fulfilment with the natural beauty and rich culture of our counties.”

In summary, the report highlights how remote work is not just changing where people work but also where they choose to live. The in-depth analysis also reveals an interesting pattern in the profile of those choosing to relocate, with the majority of those moving before they have families, indicating the potential of population regeneration in the areas they relocate to. The West of Ireland is uniquely positioned to harness the opportunities presented by this new era of flexible work and welcomes all those who have relocated or are thinking of relocating here in the future.

The full report can be viewed here.