Laura Hodgkinson is the entrepreneur behind UKswegways.com alongside online brands in four industries making a multi-million pound turnover; all whilst only in her mid-twenties. Laura, gives her view on why graduates shouldn’t all rush to the capital when crafting their careers. When university ends and the graduation gowns have been hung up once more, it’s time to think about the next steps; what do you want to do and where do you want to be? For many graduates, the journey to crafting a career will take them to the capital, in fact twice as many graduates choose to settle in London than any other UK city. However, the bright lights of the big smoke aren’t for everyone and at a time when there is a focus of devolution of power from the capital, now more than ever is an exciting time to look elsewhere.
Over the last couple of years, the government has taken steps to make areas outside of the capital more attractive to businesses, offering support and financial help. The biggest example of this is the “Northern powerhouse” which has seen over 150 science and tech companies to Manchester as well as mediacityUk now home to BBC and ITV. Across the Pennines, Leeds is the second biggest financial centre outside of London and is tipped to one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. This fast paced growth is offering up opportunities and opening up room for innovation in cities not only in the North but in locations across the UK.
There is definitely a price to pay for living and working in the capital. It’s reported that London employees spend on average around £3561 on costs which are directly related to their jobs. Throw in the high cost of rent on top of that and it all starts to add up. Now of course thousands of graduates manage the move to London every year and the costs shouldn’t put you off completely, but it’s definitely a factor which you should consider when weighing up your options.
We live in a digital age which is constantly breaking down geological boundaries. In the digital era you can set up a business from your laptop at home and be trading with audiences UK wide or further afield within the week. Exciting start-ups are using this to their advantage. Without a real restriction of location on their business, it is allowing them to set up base in less popular real estate areas, taking advantage of lower rent. With so much potential for growth in the digital industry, these start-ups are an exciting place to be and are often looking for fresh talent to add to their pool.
Doing business outside of London doesn’t rule out ever working in the capital. With transport links ever improving and HS2 on the horizon, businesses far and wide are interacting and trading in the capital daily. Look around on a morning Virgin train to London and it’s teaming with professionals putting finishing touches to proposals and prepping on the way to see a client. Taking the leap into the world of work after university can be an extremely daunting one but remember it’s also an incredibly exciting time. Where ever you decide to settle, it’s important to weigh up all your options and make sure it’s the right decision for you.