The first half of 2018 has undoubtedly been a challenging one for London based candidates in the projects and change market, with a large number of contractors rolling off MiFID II programmes at the start of the year, the market is undoubtedly candidate heavy.
While much has been made about the impact of Brexit, with jobs expected to leak from the City of London like a leaky drain flowing across the English Channel, we have also seen a large number of roles stream out of the capital and into the regions. The Strategy, Projects and Change team at Morgan McKinley has been unexpectedly busy in hiring for roles based in Edinburgh, Belfast and Manchester, with Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham also witnessing an uptick in projects hiring. For clients, the cost saving incentives of relocating resources from London are obvious – yet for projects professionals, the career benefits of relocation may be less well considered.
Of course, for many of us, relocation is easier said than done, with various personal and family commitments making it simply not a viable option. However, if you are fortunate enough to be able to really consider the move, there are a number of factors to think about before you hit the automatic notion of ‘that will not be right for me’. Firstly, there is no avoiding the fact that your day rate will be lower, although this may be a cause for concern for London based contractors; it can be more than offset by the substantially lower cost of living in cities outside London. While the rate will vary on a case by case basis, generally speaking we have seen a spectrum of rates from £350-£450 in the market for Business Analysts, while Project Managers can expect something in the £450-£550 range.
The competition for roles in the capital has been intense so far this year, with many highly qualified candidates competing for a comparatively small number of jobs making it a candidate dense market at present due to regulatory projects over the past 18 months. Consequently, this has allowed our clients to have a large number of specifications for the correct candidate and little room for flexibility on the ticking of those boxes. However, for regional roles, often the reverse is true – we are finding that due to the relatively small number of candidates, our clients are willing to be flexible on the person specifications. Therefore regional roles can provide an excellent opportunity for you to build a new skill set in an area you may not have had previous experience, which without a stakeholder to back you in London, is a relationship faux pas in some businesses.
Work life balance is the 21st century buzz phrase becoming more and more prevalent as hiring trends have been analysed. We have seen a huge increase in the quality of the life we lead being at the top of the ‘want’ list, it means that the life in suburbia with the pretty house with wide open fields of green comes at a fraction of the price and you will remain effervescent in the childhood dream you once had as the cost of living vs wage should work in your favour in the regions.
Commuting has become a dithering past time that we have convinced ourselves is acceptable to spend over an hour on a train (the average spent on a journey into London is 1 hour and 15 minutes). Technology has aided in wrangling the feeling of emptiness back to the mundane happiness we associate with journeys as kids as we watch the latest box set or episode we missed but rejoice...the regions provide a happier note as often your travel is greatly reduced to nearer your home or at worst taking you on a slightly less busy stretch of the commuter belt.
Last of all, and arguably a point that ties in quite well with such a big move, is the lifestyle implications behind it. It may be a mere change of scene but it could be something more profound as away from the hustle and bustle of the city to start a new chapter in life but whatever that may be, you will have the infallibility that your choice is your own to make and sometimes, just sometimes, there is more to the role than just its responsibilities and salary banding.