Census 2016 identified that 1 in 3 of the total Kildare/Meath working population travels to work in Dublin. This means that the 60,000 Kildare and Meath residents working in Dublin make up 12% of those working in Dublin on a given day.
As part of their strategy to encourage inward investment to the counties, and ultimately to address commuting outbound from both counties, Meath and Kildare commissioned research:
“To investigate the potential market for a network of co-working spaces
amongst current out of county commuters”
Additional objectives included:
- Identify key locations within each county where talent, skills and a large commuter base currently reside
- Analyse Census data
- Conduct surveys with commuters who travel outside the counties for work
- Analyse their profiles and their desire to live and work in Meath and Kildare.
- Test the reaction to the proposed network of hubs and willingness to use them
- Attitudes to remote working as well as employers’ willingness to allow this
The overall project outputs were comprised of three distinct research elements:
POWSCAR Data Analytics
Analysis of POWSCAR (Place of Work School and College) data was conducted using Stata and Excel.
Interactions Research are an Accredited Research Organisation by the Central Statistics Office and so have access to the POWSCAR database, which presents a finer level of detail than is publicly available.
This enabled us to develop commuter profiles by details such as origin and destination, length of commute, time leaving home, transport mode, employment sector, household composition, education levels, age and gender. This was conducted for the whole county as well as for 14 individual towns.
7000 commuters completed the online survey, which correlated census demographics with more subjective measures:
- Satisfaction with residence area, daily commute, work-life balance, job satisfaction.
- Identify segments with appetite to work closer to home in a co-working space
- Explore willingness to change and feasibility by specific decision factors
The survey promoted widely through extensive PR, supported by press adverts, and social media activity, as well as roadside VMS signs. A dedicated website was created for the survey and respondents were directed to this. The final sample size of over 7000 respondents represents approximately 10% of the population targeted.
Our research found that while commuters were satisfied with their current job and area of residence, they were highly dissatisfied with their mode of travel and the cost of commuting. There was a high desire to work closer to home, with many willing to change job or industry.
Using K-means classification techniques, we identified three commuter segments expressing a desire to work in a co-working space closer to home:
|Segment Name||Segment Size||Focus Groups|
|Class A||27% of sample||2 groups|
|Class B||15% of sample||1 group|
|Class C||6% of sample||1 group|
Qualitative research sense-checked and expanded on the quantitative insights:
We built in a consent for further research within the quantitative survey, meaning that we were then able to recruit our focus group participants directly out of the segments.
The qualitative research brought the quantitative findings to life with rich anecdotal evidence of the difficulties of affordable housing, raising a young family, balancing family life with work demands, and negotiating the commute. The research:
- Explored the contexts of travel, residence & workplace decision-making
- Expanded on the barriers and benefits they see to working within the county
- Highlighted what specific changes have most scope for each segment
- Explored expected benefits and challenges of making that change
- Built pen pictures and case studies for communications with the market and with businesses/employers
We identified that over 20% of those commuting outside the counties have high potential to relocate – almost 8000 commuters in each county. The qualitative piece teased out the three population segments willing to change, and what they will need from a co-working space.
Our research will feed into the Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan 2020, where Meath and Kildare County Councils will develop a network of co-working spaces to reverse the trend of outbound commuting and provide the facilities, services and infrastructure to commuters to work closer to home. Using our research results to strengthen their application, they will apply for funding from Enterprise Ireland to set up various hubs across the counties.
The research insights will allow for more refined key target identification and the design of targeted communications for those segments identified as having most potential for activation as an employment resource and potential hub users.
“Interactions Research was extremely professional to deal with at all stages of the commuter research. We were very impressed with their thorough approach to compiling the research on our behalf and the presentation of the final report was excellent. It was critical to us that our survey reached as relevant an audience as possible and the steps taken by Interactions ensured that occurred.”
Conor Sweeney – Programme Manager at Mid East Regional Enterprise Plan