From finance to fashion, London is known for being a global hub for numerous key industries. It’s not surprising, then, that graduates looking to stay in the UK often consider the capital as their first option after graduation.
While it’s true that London continues to host an array of central headquarters for global organisations and is the base for many graduate roles, it’s still useful to check out other key and emerging locations as part of your overall UK job search. There are a host of new opportunities that emerge when you widen your horizons – you may surprise yourself!
To help you get started exploring other areas of the UK, we’ve outlined some of the advantages of doing so below:
Too small, too big, or just right…
Spiralling office costs and increased competition have encouraged larger companies to consider relocating to less expensive places outside of the capital – big names such as Intel, HTC, Microsoft, and Adobe are all based along the M4 corridor, with Tesco in Hertfordshire, Dyson in Wiltshire, and HSBC now based in Birmingham. These are just some examples of large outfits operating in other parts of the UK.
There are also many opportunities to work with smaller teams outside of London, the advantages of which are abundant: your level of involvement with, and impact on, business processes can be significant – as a fresh graduate that can be exciting. Working for smaller organisations can also mean you’re more exposed to key senior people and so there is often the potential for a steeper learning curve. The legal profession is a good example of this – many smaller, regional firms such as high-street brands offer the above advantages that are more difficult to secure in the larger city firms.
If you’re interested in working for a start-up or smaller organisation, Glasgow, Manchester and Derby have emerged as this year’s top three hot spots for SME jobs.
Most students leave university with a significant amount of money to pay back to the government, the bank or family members. To avoid these debts spiralling, you might choose to seek out a location where living costs such as rent and travel are lower – typically, capital cities are much more expensive to live in than other places. To entice prospective employees to less traditional locations, companies sometimes offer attractive packages that are worth investigating too.
Living life to the full
Work/life balance is reported to be one of the most important factors for both Gen Z and Millennial working populations when selecting their line of work. Smaller cities and less central towns still offer a rewarding career path yet sometimes a less stressful commute and fewer late nights, offering more time to enjoy life outside of work. Obviously, this is not a definite, and there are plenty of places where you will still work longer hours than the average, depending on the industry and time of the year.
Nonetheless, moving outside of London can offer a less hectic lifestyle in a less polluted city, and if you thrive in that kind of environment, it may be wise to research opportunities across the UK.
You could live in a quiet sleepy town in Wiltshire (or get the free bus service from Bristol if you prefer city vibes!) and still have a great salary, career progression and feel like you’re part of something bigger.
Employers outside London can often access larger space for employees. A Dyson employee for example, shared that the “large space and with the consistent intake of graduates and interns each year…really has that campus feel. There is always a buzz of activity around the office with some fantastic onsite benefits (free gym, lunch, GP, hair salon etc.) and various spaces where you can work either collaborating as a team or finding a quiet spot where you can focus. You could live in a quiet sleepy town in Wiltshire (or get the free bus service from Bristol if you prefer city vibes!) and still have a great salary, career progression and feel like you’re part of something bigger, without the London living costs.”
As well as companies being headquartered outside of London, many also have regional offices around the country. For example, there has been significant growth of new roles in sectors such as consulting in places including Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. Many companies also run regional graduate schemes, ranging from BT based in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff and Ipswich, through to the CHM Treasury in Manchester, and the Office for National Statistics in Newport.
Hunt out the ‘hubs’
If an area has undergone a significant round of government or private funding to boost a certain industry, the result of this is an increase of jobs in that area. Similarly, when the government incentivised and supported projects in the renewables field, there was a large demand for relevant labour at key locations across the UK where wind turbines were erected, and solar plants were developed. There are also industries where London has never really been a central hub – manufacturing, for example, has its base in the Midlands.
It’s crucial to follow the current trends to work out where both these emerging bubbles and established bases are found. Specialist recruitment companies may be able to offer helpful hints when it comes to the current state of things, and you can check out www.corecities.com for more details of exciting clusters popping up across the UK.
Cast your net wide
Maximise your chances and don’t limit yourself to one area. Where the competition is highest, companies are less flexible, simply because they don’t need to be. It can therefore be useful to look further afield to widen your options – this enables you to consider a larger number of roles that are less overcrowded but still offer the same high quality and competitive training programmes that you would find in a London-based role. They sometimes have longer recruitment windows too.
We can help!
So, as you start to see a bigger picture, you may be able to spot some opportunities that you hadn’t considered before. If you’re interested in exploring new avenues, but unsure how to approach this, LSE’s careers consultants are on hand to run through the possibilities with you.
Book an appointment via CareerHub to start working through your options in more detail.