Research conducted by the independent think tank Resolution Foundation discovered that recent graduates are less likely to relocate for work than they were 20 years ago. This is due to a range of reasons: the cost of moving, greater local employment opportunities and extortionate rent increases in certain areas of the UK.
As you plan your next steps after graduation, you might have to consider whether it’s worth relocating for a graduate job. Should you stick with what you know or start from scratch in a completely new place? Should you return to the familiar comfort of home or fend for yourself in the big city?
While we can’t make these decisions for you, we’ve put together a guide outlining things to take into account before making your choice. If you’ve already decided that you’re going to fly the coop after university, take a look at our advice on how to successfully relocate.
1. Moving costs
Relocating can be expensive. You will obviously have to pay rent, a deposit, council tax and bills. This can take a big chunk out of your salary. While organisations in big cities such as London tend to pay higher salaries, the increase in rent over recent years has actually overtaken the rise in salaries, meaning that you’ll have less to spend on groceries, shopping and your social life. However, some organisations offer to cover the cost of the move. Make sure to ask the recruiter whether this will be available to you should you decide to relocate.
If you choose to stay at home, you’ll most likely save money on rent. Even if your parents expect you to contribute to household bills, this will be nothing compared to the hundreds of pounds you’d spend each month on rent if you were to move out. Nevertheless, what is saved in rent might be spent elsewhere on your daily commute. You need to evaluate whether you’d prefer living closer to work and saving money on transport or staying home and not paying rent.
2. Lifestyle change
Leaving home after university can be a big shock to the system. Even if you’ve moved out for university, relocating for a job is a completely different kettle of fish. At university, everyone is in the same boat – everyone is of a similar age and ready to meet new people. When you move for a job, however, you’re doing it alone.
Moreover, relocating for a graduate job often means moving to a big city. This can be a daunting prospect for many people, who feel intimidated by the thought of being alone in an urban jungle.
However, this can also be extremely exciting. If you are moving to a city, you will find that there are always things to see, places to go and new people to meet. Plus, you won’t have your parents hovering over you, demanding that you be back by a certain time and complaining that you treat their house like a hotel. You can finally be independent.
3. Career boost
Evidence shows that relocating can boost your earning potential. Moving to a more economically productive area often results in a salary increase, although you do have to take into account that your living costs might be higher. Moreover, there may be more career and development opportunities if you decide to relocate. As you will be closer to the office, you will have more time to network and get involved in after-work social activities.
You need to think about the sector you are hoping to get into when deciding whether or not you should relocate. There are some industries, such as trade publishing and investment banking, that are predominantly located in London. Therefore, if you hope to make it in these sectors, you will likely need to relocate.
However, it is a misconception that graduates have to move to the capital in order to get a job. One of the reasons graduate relocation rates have declined is that there are more opportunities available across the country, covering a vast array of sectors from engineering to law. This means that staying at home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your career.
One of the greatest sources of anxiety for graduates when considering relocating is the thought of leaving behind family and friends. This is completely understandable. It is difficult to imagine not seeing your parents as often as before, and you might feel left out if your friends begin to do things without you.
But social media ensures that you never feel too far from your loved ones, and many parts of the country are connected by great transport links, meaning going home doesn’t have to be a trek. Part of growing up is meeting new people and expanding your outlook on life. Moving away may take you further away from familiar faces, but it forces you to create new relationships and venture outside of your comfort zone.
When you graduate, you have your whole life ahead of you. This is the time in your life where you will (probably) not have any obligations to children or a partner and can act completely independently. If you are ever going to move, now would be the best time to do it.