Over the past couple of years the focus has slowly started to shift from big London offices to their smaller counterparts in the regions. There are pros and cons to working in both, but with London still a popular destination for graduates, regional offices are often overlooked. Here are seven of my top reasons why you should consider working in a regional office:
1.Less competition and plenty of opportunities
Even though more people are choosing to work in locations outside of London, the capital is still one of the top destinations for graduates seeking work. There are a huge amount of job opportunities in London, no matter what industry you want to go into, but the large population makes the competition for jobs extremely high.
Many large finance companies such as PwC and HSBC have offices across the UK in other cities like Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester. These offices, though smaller than their London equivalents, still have plenty of opportunities but with less competition meaning you have a better chance of getting through to the interview stage. For example, 50% of PwC’s graduate opportunities are based outside of London. There are also a huge amount of internships and placements available in regional offices; if you go back to your hometown during the summer holiday why not look into doing work experience there? Check out all the work experience roles on our website here.
2. More money
Although the annual salary in London is 33% higher than in other regions, the cost of living outside the capital is a lot cheaper. It is estimated that in areas outside of London the price of living costs 60% less. Rent in London is one of the highest in the world, never mind just the UK. A one bedroom flat in London can cost the same in rent as a two bed in the north of England. The commute into and out of London can also be costly and it’s nigh impossible to use a car in central London.
Anyone who’s ever visited London knows how expensive it is to eat out and have a couple of drinks. In my home town a pint costs half the amount to that in Central London!
3. More time
Back to the subject of commute, if you live close to a regional office and either drive in or get public transport, you’re bound to be travelling less than in London. Working in a regional office means you’ll have a lot more spare time on your hands, which admittedly everyone wants!
Offices outside of the capital can also be allowed greater flexibility with their working hours so you don’t necessarily have to start at 9 and finish at 5. As long as you work your agreed hours you can negotiate with your manager when you start and finish to suit your commitments outside of work such as family.
4. Gain more experience
Working at a smaller regional office gives you more of a chance to work with the senior members of the team. This is always a good thing; you’ll learn a lot and gain valuable expertise which you may not have had the chance to experience in a London firm.
PwC has also estimated that 2/3 of their clients are served by regional offices. You’ll have a lot of contact with clients; obtaining more responsibility and tasks to keep you on your toes!
5. The social life
If your friends and family don’t live in London then working in a regional office gives you the opportunity to work and live near them. This way you can keep in touch with the people you care about and see them on a regular basis, instead of forking out for the train fare home!
Many people who work in smaller regional firms also love the fact you get to know everyone you work with. Large London companies have so many employees it’s impossible to meet everyone even at Christmas and after-work events.
6. Opportunity to progress and move office
Regional offices have plenty of opportunities for you to progress within a company. In smaller firms you still have all the career opportunities as in London offices, but it can be easier for you to work your way up and get promoted due to less competition from the small amount of employees.
Once you’re employed in a finance company it’s always easy to move and relocate within the firm. This is still the case in regional offices, where it can be easier to get a job the first place. If you decide that you want to relocate from one regional office to another, or even move to London office, you’ll have the freedom to do so.
7. Help the regions grow
Finally, and maybe most importantly, working in a regional office will help support regional towns. You’ll be aiding clients nearby in growing and expanding their business; directly affecting and improving the surrounding economy. Many finance companies are also highly involved in other small local businesses and charities, helping them to advance and make their community stronger.
By moving to a regional town you’ll be lending your own knowledge and skills to the improvement of towns and cities across the UK and growing the community of industry experts outside of London. Over the past few years, since the focus has somewhat shifted to regional offices, more jobs have been created by finance firms, again improving the local economy and prospects for young people.