Earlier this year, London retained its crown as the world’s top financial centre, so why are so many finance graduates shunning the metropolis in favour of places like Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham?
In recent years, the number of graduates entering investment banking and accountancy requesting positions outside of London has substantially increased. Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner of PWC has said that: “We’re seeing a growing interest in regional roles driven by greater awareness of the opportunities available, lifestyle considerations and the increased availability of technology, which is location agnostic”.
Banks such as HSBC have noticed the increased interest in the North from graduates and have just finished the first stage of its new headquarters for retail operations in Birmingham where 1,000 positions are now ready to be filled. Why is London losing its appeal?
Where the cost of running a home in London is £11,536, compared to average in Northern England being £8,521, it is really no surprise that many students are opting to live elsewhere. With so many cities around England now being seen to offer much more in terms of lifestyle, it is now that a higher standard of living can be achieved much quicker by opting to live outside the capital.
While London-based organisations might be facing competition not previously seen, graduates choosing to live and work in other UK cities will increase the role regional centres play in driving the economy. This change will be likely to boost housing, transport, funding and growth as the migration of larger corporations and their staff comes with the investment from developers and the Government in local areas. Wherever there is demand, there needs to be supply and the erection of shopping centres, healthcare institutions and local services can only spell one thing, JOBS.
However, not everyone is convinced that this trend will continue. Paul Swinney, principal economist at the think-tank Centre for Cities says: “London has such a deep labour market, with opportunities for career progression and to jump sectors that are unrivalled in the UK”.
Whilst we do not foresee London losing its top spot as the world’s Financial epicentre or number one destination for finance grads, it might be that George Osbourne’s cry for a “Northern Powerhouse” that could rival that of London and the South East might soon become a reality.