Planning a next career move sometimes brings up the question of where to live.
The cost of house, commuting lengths, distance from important friends or extended family, access to a garden or good schools are just some of the many reasons that drive a desire to up sticks and begin a new life elsewhere.
But where do you begin thinking about where to move to – and might there be a risk that wherever you do move to might not meet other essential needs like sufficient employment possibilities on your doorstep?
Brighton, for example, is one of many popular towns and cities where Londoners typically move to, due to the chance to enjoy sea and countryside, while still being commutable (just about) to London. Yet 1 in 4 who move there, return to London and in the process find themselves having to take a financial hit as they downsize from a house with a garden back to a flat because they’ve been priced out of a bigger property. When train drivers strike as they did a couple of years back on Southern Rail then getting to work for commuters on that line became impossible and led to many people losing their jobs.
If you are contemplating a move, first write down your list of why you are moving and the criteria that matter to you. “What do I really want from this new location?” is the question to ask yourself and write down as many things as you can think about with respect the kind of property, supermarkets and nearby facilities, transport links, the closeness of friends and family and the types of jobs or organisations that would need to be there for you to thrive.
If you are intending to move as a couple, you both need to write this list in private and then compare lists. See where you are both on the same page – or not. Where are you willing to compromise – or not?
There are many websites now with top lists of where to work in the UK to aid your research – and narrowing down. Which! seem to offer the most comprehensive guide by intended postcode or local authority.
The Times do a yearly supplement of Best Places or can be accessed by subscription the rest of the year round: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/norwich-norfolk-best-places-to-live-in-the-uk-2020-0023s8q7c
Interestingly if it wasn’t for the cost of housing, London would be much higher on them. Therefore, if you are London-based, it would be wise to review your list of criteria and rate your dream location on a scale of 1-10 based on your research and compare your scores with where you live now. Is the time, effort and enormous cost of selling and buying a new place worth it when you rate your criteria for both locations objectively?
Perhaps if you are unsure, then renting your current home and renting in the new place for 6 months to a year might be a lower cost alternative that hedges your bets? It’s easier to return if it doesn’t work out. Yes, going to a place several times for day trips and falling in love with it doesn’t mean it will work for you when living there is your day to day reality.
Just as important is of course ensuring there are sufficient jobs in the locality. Is there a good way to research this?
Well, you could start with Glassdoor which captures the best cities for jobs – by number of job openings https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/List/Best-Cities-for-Jobs-UK-LST_KQ0,23.htm
Other possibilities are checking Wikipedia pages by city or town for a rough guide of the bigger organisations. Or doing advanced searches on LinkedIn If you’re in a particular field you want to research more widely for clusters of that type of job such as Bristol for publishing, Dundee for the games industry or Cambridge for life sciences.
What if you’re freelance or wanting to work for (or begin) a start-up? Well arguably if it’s an online business you can work from anywhere. Yet on closer inspection, if you want to collaborate with others, meet clients, be close to venture capital, running off to Peak District might not make sense. Using this guide might hone your list to what will be workable https://startups.co.uk/best-cities-for-work-uk/ in terms of co-working spaces and other places to meet.
I hope that this article has been valuable, if you’ve been dreaming of any kind of move. If you’d like to think this through with a coach in confidence, you can. We can also do “alignment coaching” with couples where couples have different ideas of where they’d like to live and work, and that’s causing conflict and distress. As always you can book time in our online diary or ring 020 7702 9299