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Manchester job applications soar as London allure wanes

26 / 03 / 2018
Job applications nearly doubled in Manchester last month, as candidates continue to look north for opportunities outside London.

The capital has traditionally provided the biggest pull for ambitious jobseekers. In 2014, London hosted 40 per cent of European headquarters for the world's biggest companies, according to Deloitte.

However, CV-Library found that Manchester applications jumped 92 per cent in January when compared with the previous month, while London saw a 77.2 per cent increase. Birmingham and Edinburgh also saw significant rises in job applications, climbing 90.4 and 90.2, respectively.

The surge in January jobseekers won't come as a surprise to most, with the new year proving a popular time for people to consider making a switch. But the results continue a trend of applicants looking beyond London to progress their career.

Previous CV-Library research, which analysed the number of jobs in UK cities across 2016 and 2017, also highlighted Manchester as a key hotspot for candidates this year. The number of roles available jumped 15.5 per cent over a one-year period. Only Brighton (19.9 per cent) saw a bigger increase.

Scotland also showed its pulling power, with Glasgow (14.6 per cent), Aberdeen (7.1 per cent) and Edinburgh (5.9 per cent) all breaking into the top ten. London, which saw the largest growth in 2016, didn't appear in the rankings.

Big businesses moving out of London


Sky-high house prices, improved transport links across the UK and a slew of big businesses moving operations away from the capital have all contributed to a steady stream of jobseekers leaving London.

Last year, HSBC completed the first stage of relocating staff for its headquarters for retail operations in Birmingham. According to the Financial Times (FT), approximately nine in ten positions had been filled by November.

HSBC isn't the only banking giant to grow operations outside London. JP Morgan already has 1,200 staff in Glasgow and 300 in Edinburgh. Deutsche Bank's Birmingham hub employs 1,500 people and Citibank has 2,000 people based in Belfast.

Outside of financial services, a slew of big names are shifting large parts of their business up north. Burberry created hundreds of jobs when it opened a new Leeds office in October, while Channel 4 was recently given a March 12th deadline to move a sizable portion of its business out of London.

Birmingham is the lead candidate for the broadcaster, with the government potentially passing legislation to force a move if Channel 4 misses its target date.

Is there a skills shortage in the north?


While organisations that move outside the capital enjoy cheaper office costs and a range of other efficiency benefits, some may struggle to find specialist staff.

HSBC admitted that it was forced to boost the attractiveness of its relocation packages to entice London-based employees to make the move to Birmingham. Despite this, many vacancies were filled with new recruits, according to Ian Stuart, general manager for the Birmingham site.

"Not that many have moved from London, but we have done well with hiring. People [in London] have family commitments, children in school. We have 88 per cent of positions filled so we are very much there," he told the FT.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said employers were still finding it difficult to source talent to fill available vacancies in February, even though unemployment rose between October and December 2017.

"The biggest issue is the skills mismatch the country is facing and new jobseekers might not necessarily have what employers are looking for," said REC director of policy Tom Hadley.

Therefore, candidates that have the right mix of skills, experience and willingness to relocate for the best opportunities are likely to find themselves highly sought-after in the current labour market. Contact Barclay Simpson to discuss your next career move.
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