The default position for UK professionals has traditionally been to head south to the capital. The streets of London were paved with gold, apparently. That may no longer be the case, though. In fact, to be blunt, not only is London not the career destination it once was, but it is also slipping behind its Northern cousins in many ways. All things considered, your best move as either and candidate or employer may be to look up the M6 or M1.
While money isn’t everything, you cannot help but notice how much lower the cost of living is outside London. The difference is often as much as 50 – 60% less for the rent on an equivalent living space in Lancashire, Bolton or Preston, for example, compared to one London. In some areas, that difference can be even higher. So, if you fancy a little bit of luxury without the high price tag, head up north. If you are looking to get on the property ladder, that lower cost carries through to buying your own place as well. Lower travel costs, equivalent or better shopping bills, some pretty amazing local produce (and not forgetting cheaper nights out) make your wages go a lot further. From a financial perspective, it’s very clear that Lancashire and surrounding areas win over London in almost every aspect. Drive a few miles out of any town or city, and we even have spectacular scenery look at.
Is it actually ‘grim up north’ for professionals?
A quick look on Glassdoor will give you a comparison of wages between London and the more northern opportunities. No surprise that the London wages will usually be higher. The shock is by how little, though. When you factor in the cost of accommodation alone, the reality is that London working doesn’t have much to offer, even if you choose to live in one of the increasing number of up-market developments. That higher salary may not be all it seems because you could end up hundreds better off a month living in the Lancashire or Greater Manchester areas.
All of which is fine, but isn’t it still the case that there are more vacancies in London? Well, things are not quite as simple as being able to do a like for like comparison, but the short answer is that in practical terms, that is no longer the case for many professions. A lot of businesses have moved out of the capital post covid or started to offer more WFH options. Many international businesses are looking for a post Brexit footprint outside London, and start-ups are tempted by the lower cost and support available in most Northern towns. As a result, there are opportunities for candidates in a wide range of areas and skillsets.
This brings us to an important consideration. There is a growing need to support the post-pandemic and post-Brexit recovery. The North is not only recovering but also booming and expanding to take advantage of new opportunities. As demand for candidates increases and more vacancies continue to open up, businesses realise they need to compete to attract the best talent. What that means is employers are offering some great packages to attract the people they need. Advancement and development opportunities, upskilling possibilities and career advances are all more likely in a marketplace that needs to appeal to skilled workers. So, if you are a candidate thinking of a move, strike now while the iron is hot.
So, in summary, the job market in the North of England is currently a candidate’s perfect scenario. Demand is high, opportunities are many, remuneration is good, and employers are looking to recruit the best people. What’s not to be happy about in that picture? These days Dick Whittington would more likely head to Preston, Blackburn or Bolton to make his fortune than London.
Looking down our current listings, we have everything from entry-level opportunities to senior management roles. They are based in some amazing places that are steeped in tradition but have one foot firmly holding open the door for future development. So, no, it’s not grim up north at all, exactly the opposite. It is vibrant, growing and it is crying out for the best candidates for some of the best opportunities in the UK.
Call us to see how we can boost your career (and lifestyle) with one of our current vacancies.