Should smart graduates ditch London and head north for a better life?MANCHESTER, LEEDS AND NEWCASTLE OFFER GOOD JOBS AND CHEAPER LIVING

Thinking of heading to London now you’ve graduated? Graduates looking for somewhere to live and work might be smarter to avoid the capital and head for northern cities like Manchester, according to new research.

A study by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) challenges many graduates’ assumption that London is the best place to be once you’ve graduated. Although the capital is known for having some of the best job opportunities, when taken together with soaring housing costs and a poor work-life balance, other cities may in fact offer graduates a better overall deal.

Northern cities performed the best. Manchester was found to offer the best balance, followed by Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds, which all scored highly on a combination of graduate level employment opportunities and house price-to-earnings ratios.

Angus Hanton, co-founder of IF, said:

“Young people want both to work and to be able to afford housing, but in most of the UK they can only do one or the other.

“While London offers many job opportunities, the capital’s housing crisis means young people may have good jobs, but their income is disproportionately swallowed up by high housing costs.”

The research would seem to support the idea that more companies should look at expanding outside London. As Hanton said:

“There is a huge untapped pool of graduate opportunities outside London with businesses missing a trick by not locating in these areas. Our findings overlap with the current government’s strategy to seek to build a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and devolution of public expenditure and taxation to Combined Local Authorities would allow these regional centres to truly compete with London for young talent.”

Graduate Fog thinks this research is fascinating – and we love the idea that graduates may be exerting some ‘people power’ on employers, without even realising it. When the cost of living is so crazy in the capital, for how much longer will the best employers be able to demand that you come to them? Isn’t it inevitable that at some point they’ll have to start looking at where you can afford to live, and start opening offices there.

Is the capital still considered the best place to kick off your career? Is London your top choice of place to live and work – or do you think the capital is over-rated? Have you struggled to make ends meet in the capital – and would you consider moving north for a better life?

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