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Monday 28th September 2015
For decades UK graduates have sought their fortune in the big smoke. For most graduates it’s seen as the obvious option after finishing their degree.

According to recent reports by The Guardian 60% of those living in inner city London are graduates and many university leavers aren’t even considering other options around the country.

It’s the capital of England, the hub of business with common belief that there are more job opportunities. According to a report by 'Wessex Scene', it’s true, London has more graduates in employment than anywhere else, with 53 per cent of the workforce holding a degree. However what those statistics don’t take into account is whether those graduates are working in their desired career field, whether or not they’re overqualified for the jobs they’re doing, or whether or not these graduates are progressing in their work.

In a recent report by 'The Independent' it was stated that there are now only 43 homes on the market in London that are deemed affordable for first time buyers. New research has revealed that a first-time buyer looking to get a home in London would need to earn £77,000 a year. When you compare that with the average annual salary in the capital – £27,999 – you can see that the numbers don’t add up. Making it increasingly difficult for young people to get on to the property ladder.

So with rising rent prices, and increasing competition for graduate roles as the number of grads in London continue to rise, are graduates selling themselves short by just focusing on moving to London to start their careers? 

According to a recent report by the Intergenerational Foundation it would seem so. The report found that many northern English cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield strike a better balance when it comes to rewarding, well paid work and quality of life then that in the capital.

In London the starting salaries for graduates are generally higher, but the price of living is also at a premium, resulting in many graduates being worse off in London than other areas of the UK.

For example Graduates in northern cities may earn less money but the cost of living is also a fraction of the price compared to London meaning that northern grads have more disposable income to spend on other things. 

In the North West for example the average starting salary is lower than most in London at £20,723 – but first-time buyers need an income of just £26,395 to get their foot on the property ladder. Meaning most young professionals are on track to be home owners by the age of 30, something that would be a rarity in London.

Technology skills are becoming increasingly in demand for employers, with many long prosperous careers promised in the digital sector. 

You may have read our blog (The North proves to be a hotspot for tech professionals.) where we highlight how The North of England is becoming a hotspot for Technology professionals. A survey conducted by Recruitment International shows that growth in the technology sector actually shows greater momentum outside of London.

The report shows those working outside of London were more likely to receive a pay rise in 2014. On average 78% of permanent tech staff employed outside of London experienced a salary increase last year compared to 74% working in the capital. Indicating a greater sense of progression and job satisfaction in future in the north for graduate professionals.

Despite the obvious added benefits stated in this blog, and the government promises of backing a “Northern powerhouse”. The domination of London over the UK grad market looks set to continue, with London still being the central hub for the UK’s economic, cultural and political sectors.

It seems where there are an abundance of graduate opportunities, university leavers will no doubt follow. And despite great opportunities for graduates across the north, London is still offering more roles for Grads, with over 83% of businesses offering graduate vacancies in London for 2015; and only 50% of them recruiting in the north-west and 44% in the north-east.

What are your thoughts? Will London always be the go to destination for fresh graduates? If so more what can be done to attract more graduates to northern cities? Leave a comment below or tweet us @AmsourceTech.
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