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Not so grim up North

  • Publish Date: Posted about 5 years ago

​A recent study from TotalJobs did a deep dive into what the North has to offer in terms of working life and career motivators, highlighting the advantages to both employees and employers alike, and if you’re a lifelong Southerner the results may surprise you!

With employment standing at a record high (almost 76% according to the ONS), Northern businesses have even more of a challenge in competing with the higher salaries and faster career progression in the South (London specifically). However, one place they do compete is the lower cost of living, with the Professor of Economics at Lancaster University calculating that your £1 in London is worth £1.17 in the North.

Why is that? Several factors – from the lower price of your daily cup of coffee (25% less) to the more significant savings in commuting (almost 50% less in cost and c 30% less in time) and a saving of over £500 in rental costs. Ownership of properties also sees a massive difference – with the average property in Newcastle costing £170k vs £520k in the capital.

So, your pound will go further, your commute will be shorter, and your house will be bigger – but what about the actual working day? Well, there’s not much difference. Those in the North average 3.1/3.2 hours extra over their 37.5 hour week versus Londoners 3.5 hours. Northerners are however more likely to work remotely for some of their week (8% vs 3% in London) and being home with family in the evening are likely to be big motivators for those living in the North.

What do workers want from their careers? The research shows Londoners prioritising a high salary and career progression though this could be based on the necessity to earn more due to the higher cost of living in the capital. With Northerners looking less for financial gain (they want to earn enough to be comfortable) and more concerned with work life balance.

62% of Londoners also crave more learning and development (L&D) opportunities, with 25% disappointed with their current employer’s investment in this area. For recruiters looking to place people in the North, this could be a great way of encouraging more of the Southern talent pool to relocate. Highlighting progression and L&D opportunities will certainly be a good motivator for this market.

Traditional views of the North (by Southerners) have shifted, and many Londoners would now consider relocating for the right opportunity (in comparison to Northerners who are less likely to move, 46% wouldn’t do so even for a pay rise).

Overall, where you’re looking for candidates for roles based in the North – especially in hard to fill or technical areas – use the advantages of your business’ location to engage with potential candidates. Whether that’s lower living costs, work-life balance or the cultural/social scene there are many benefits you can highlight to encourage applications, including:

  • Showing candidates on your website exactly what the region has to offer – using images or video to bring this to life.

  • Offering relocation assistance – like temporary accommodation or help with moving costs.

  • Tailoring your benefits package – offering flexible working arrangements will be high on the list of factors considered for moving roles.

All in all, the Northern Powerhouse is thriving. With increased investment into cities, supporting a good quality of life and a strong sense of local pride there are even more reasons to head up the M1 to further your career!