L.A.'s housing costs make it harder for companies to keep workers here, survey finds

With year-round sunshine, golden beaches and some of the country’s best tacos and burritos, you might think Los Angeles wouldn’t have a problem attracting and retaining workers.

But like many metropolitan areas burdened with high housing costs, the region’s affordability crisis is deterring workers from putting down roots, according to the results of a survey released this week by USC and the Los Angeles Business Council.

“Though we have yet to see a critical mass of businesses priced out of the region, this is an area of concern,” Raphael Bostic, a professor of public policy at USC who led the research, said in a statement.

According to Bostic, high housing costs are leading to employers’ having to develop special hiring packages, subsidize employee transportation or offer relocation costs, which puts a strain on companies’ bottom lines and makes it harder to compete with markets where housing costs aren’t as high.

“There’s ample evidence to show that the time is now to implement strategies to reduce housing costs,” he said.

The survey team reached out to nearly 50 of Los Angeles’ largest employers and received responses from 15 of them.

Nearly 60% of those surveyed said the region’s high cost of living was affecting employee retention, and 64% of the companies said they had to factor in cost of living when negotiating hiring packages for high-level employees.

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