There is no doubt that London is a global hub - the culture, the history, the vibrant atmosphere, the pace, the ambition, the jobs, the money can only be rivalled by cities like New York. But, in a world that is becoming increasingly connected, is there still any need to be situated in the hub?
Although the city is at the centre of attention, the regions seem to be slowly, but surely, clawing back and making more and more people decide to move outside the capital.
London’s income currently subsidises the rest of the UK and the money made here tend to draw away the attention and interest from the rest of the country. As well as tourist attractions, culture or good education, London is home to 55 Michelin starred restaurants in comparison to 92 UK wide. Moreover, there’s no arguing that some of the best jobs in the world, especially jobs in the Financial Services industry, can be found smack-bang in the middle of the capital.
However, it does have its drawbacks. Whilst living and working in London, most people struggle to get on the property ladder, to get their child in to your school of choice, to get a GP/hospital appointment, to get on the tube at rush hour and even to get a table at one of those 55 Michelin starred restaurants. On top of this, the lack of time to enjoy all that London has to offer as well as the socio-economic environment might also have a negative impact on them: the dog-eat-dog world and the long working hours are certainly not for faint hearted.
This year, the Queen vowed to create a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ which promises to “provide for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors". The process is already well underway across the North as well as across the Midlands and the South.
The Financial Services industry has traditionally been exclusive to London however, this trend has now started to change. The financial crisis has put a lot of doubt in people’s minds - why they would chose to bank with the global power houses? As a result, many people are now choosing to bank ‘closer to home’. Challenger Banks and building societies are doing very well and some examples include: Virgin Money (Newcastle), the Co-operative Bank (Manchester), Aldermore Bank (Manchester), Clydesdale Bank (Glasgow), Yorkshire Bank (Leeds), Yorkshire Building Society (Bradford) and Coventry Building Society (Coventry).
These Challenger Banks are growing and, despite the relocation of HSBC Retail to Birmingham which is going to create thousands of new jobs, people can and will keep working for the global brands regionally. But HSBC is not the only bank one could work for outside London. America Merrill Lynch (Chester), Barclaycard (Northampton), Barclays (Knutsford), Lloyds Banking Group (Bristol, Halifax, Cardiff, Edinburgh are only a few other banks with regional offices.
So, there seem to be plenty of opportunities in the Financial Sector industry outside London and these opportunities keep growing. Yes, people can probably earn more money in London however, the costs of living in the capital are greater. Moreover, as salaries increase across the UK, London’s wages are actually increasing at a slower rate than the regional ones.
To summarise, in my opinion, London is and will continue to be head and shoulders above the rest of the UK when it comes to salaries, convenience and infrastructure. However, one commodity that the rest of the UK seems to have more of is, time. And this is priceless.
Callum Tustin recruits permanent change professionals on a regional basis across the financial services industry and their service providers. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Callum on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 20 7065 7037.