Public Affairs Networking
Britain’s north-south divide no longer exists for job-seekers

In June 2014 The Candidate commissioned research to discover how increasing talent search areas has become a requirement in order to overcome the digital skills crisis that faces many British companies, writes Brian Matthews.

The research, of over 1,000 job seekers, uncovered many interesting findings, one of which was about the so-called ‘North-South divide’.

The North-South divide has been a running debate over many years, with economic, cultural, political and even life expectancy being part of the discussion

However, despite many beliefs that the South has more of a pull for job seekers, our research found that 54% of candidates would choose to work in a northern city, if given a choice.

The North has been growing in popularity with those relocating for jobs, and although London has many employment opportunities on offer, the volume of young people moving North has grown massively in recent years. According to The 2011 Census a decade ago there were 78,301 people of this age group living in the city, this has now increased to 123,600.

This can, in part, be put down to the move of the BBC to MediaCity in Salford Quays in 2013, where 2,300 BBC staff members who worked in London were relocated. This expansion has encouraged much development in this area, which has experienced growth in production, technology development, training, and digital media skills.

Some of the world’s biggest businesses have offices in northern cities, including the Bank of New York, Google and RBS, all of which bring fantastic opportunities for job seekers.

Many regions in northern areas now have great transport links to other major cities in the country, and this provides great potential for them to develop and grow even further. Leeds, for example, has train links to Manchester that take just an hour, services to London that take approx two hours 15 minutes and links to Birmingham that take under two hours, meaning that businesses can easily move between cities.

New developments such as the proposed HS2 high-speed rail link that will run through the country has recently re-fuelled the North-South divide argument. The idea has fired up a debate between councils, with those in the North welcoming the scheme and those in the South opposing it. The plan would slash the train time from London to big cities further North, the most noticeable for Manchester, where commuters would save 60 minutes on their journey with the time to London going from two hours eight minutes to one hour eight minutes. The HS2 begins with phase one, which will run between London and Birmingham. Construction is proposed to start in 2017, with the line due to be up and working in 2026. Phase two will run north of Birmingham, to Manchester and Leeds, which is aimed to be complete in 2033. The Department for Transport says without the HS2 development, key rail routes connecting London, the Midlands and the North will soon be overwhelmed and they claim the line will ‘benefit’ all areas of England.

As our research shows, most job seekers would prefer to move to a city in the north of England than a southern city, so it is within the interests of northern cities to invest in attractive relocation packages to draw potential employees. In fact, our research showed 92% of candidates would consider relocating if they were offered the choice, yet 83% have never been offered a package as part of a relocation deal.

Brian Matthews is managing partner at digital recruitment agency The Candidate.

For more information you can visit:

The full report is available at:

No comments yet
Submit a comment

Policy and networking for the digital age
Policy Review TV Neil Stewart Associates
© Policy Review | Policy and networking for the digital age 2024 | Log-in | Proudly powered by WordPress
Policy Review EU is part of the NSA & Policy Review Publishing Network