23 November 2016

In 2015, one in seven UK employees (14%) travelled two hours or more each day to and from work.

Analysis by the TUC of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of employees with daily commutes of two hours or more rose by nearly a third (31%) over the past five years.

On average, UK workers spent 10 more hours commuting in 2015 than they did in 2010.

The unpublished data from the Labour Force Survey analysed by the TUC also reveals that 3.7 million workers had daily commutes of two hours or longer last year.

That figure represented an increase of 900,000 since 2010, and means that one in seven UK employees (14%) commuted for two hours or more each day, compared to one in nine in 2010 (11%).

Although men still account for almost two-thirds (61%) of those who make work journeys of two hours or more, it is women who have seen their journey times rise more sharply since 2010 (up by 35% compared to 29% for men).

The discrepancy might be explained, the TUC suggests, by longer journeys being undertaken by people working in sectors where higher numbers of women work, including education (which has seen a 46% rise in the number of women with longer commutes) and health and social care sector (up by 26%).

It goes on to argue that the increase in travelling times is probably due to a combination of stagnating wages and rising accommodation costs leaving many workers unable to move to areas closer to their work. A lack of investment in transport infrastructure also has a role to play, the TUC states.

General Secretary Frances O’Grady called on employers to offer more home-working and flexible-working opportunities to their staff.