The region’s high housing costs are deterring top talent from entering the Los Angeles job market and leading to higher recruiting costs for employers, according to a survey released Wednesday from USC and the Los Angeles Business Council.
The study, authored by Raphael Bostic, a USC Price School of Public Policy professor and newly-appointed head of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, found that 75 percent of employers surveyed cited the region’s high housing costs as a negative impact on employee retention. Nearly two-thirds of major employers surveyed said they are forced to include cost of living adjustments when negotiating hiring packages for top-level employees.
In addition, the survey found that as employees have had to go farther afield to find affordable housing, nearly every employer reported that more than 25 percent of their employees spent more than 90 minutes getting to and from work.
“This study shows that high housing costs are burdening our leading employers, either by having to develop special hiring packages, or subsidizing transportation and relocation costs,” Bostic said in a press release accompanying the study. “Though we have yet to see a critical mass of businesses priced out of the region, this is an area of concern. There’s ample evidence to show that the time is now to implement strategies to reduce housing costs.”
The report attributes the high cost of housing to the region’s limited housing supply. Among the recommendations to increase housing supply are investing in higher-density housing at a range of prices near key transit centers, reducing parking requirements for new development, identifying single-story buildings that could be converted to housing, and examining successful employer-sponsored housing projects, such as the LAUSD affordable housing apartments completed last year.
To compile the survey data, USC researchers questioned employers accounting for nearly 200,000 jobs across a wide array of sectors, including utilities, health care, education, government, engineering, and finance.
Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.