Relocating 06 Jul 2018

Where Did All the Talent Go?

What more can be said about London? One of the most prosperous and vibrant cities in the world, the UK capital is a creative hotbed of talent. It’s where the young go in pursuit of lucrative careers. It’s also the most enviable of addresses for aspiring advertising agencies nationwide.

Recent studies show that almost a third of relocating graduates head to the capital every year. It’s a clear indicator of the aspirational pull London has, but the question is how long are they staying for? According to data from the Office for National Statistics, migration from London to other parts of the UK is at its highest ever level and it’s those in their thirties being the most inclined to leave.

So Why Are People Leaving?

For all of London’s appeal, there are myriad reasons why marketing professionals are seeking a new life outside of the capital.

Financial Freedom

It’s never been as financially hard to be living in London. House prices are unattainably high for the majority and are a key reason for the record exodus. London has the highest average wages but the lowest disposable income in the UK and that disparity is only widening as the cost of living increases. While Account Managers in London earn approximately 15% to 20% more than in other major cities, the average rent is reportedly almost 400% more. This may be manageable for young couples, but singletons and those with a young family are often priced out.

Quieter Life

Others simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of London life. Other major UK cities, such as Birmingham and Manchester, are noticeably less congested. According to a survey conducted by the Drum, almost 70 per cent of marketing and communications agency employees believe that their health is affected by their work. Such are the stress levels and often long hours of creative and client services teams, the appeal of being in the close vicinity of countryside and nature to escape to on days off is obvious.

Better Transport Links

London is reportedly the second most traffic congested city in Europe (only beaten by Moscow) and  has the worst train service in the country. When you have to face that five days a week, it’s no wonder many soon tire of it.

The promise of the HS2 train means that living in London will become less necessary and the smaller towns en-route will benefit from the escaping Londoners. In addition, there is the Crossrail, connecting Reading and Essex to major stops throughout London. Crucially, this will mean getting to the likes of Farringdon, Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and Hoxton will be much easier for commuters from the west.

While this might not sound immediately concerning for London’s grip on creative talent and client and agency marketeers, how long before more professionals who live outside of London decide to work outside of London as well?

New Opportunities

We are also seeing growing demand across the country (Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds) for talent at design, advertising and marketing agencies who have relocated, so the potential for new areas to flourish with ex-Londoners is clearly there. In many ways, talent spreading across the country is a positive thing, as this increasing emergence of talent outside of London in turn economically boosts these cities and new creative hubs.

We are testament to this effect; the latest addition to the IC Creative team is the exceptionally talented consultant Jess Moore. Jess worked in London for a decade and brings with her a wealth of experience working with top agencies.

In Summary

20 years ago, Farringdon and Clerkenwell were the new must-be locations for many design agencies. Then, Shoreditch and Hoxton joined them as the trendiest places for the advertising world. So don’t be surprised if the likes of Hackney, Stepney and Bow are next as agencies inevitably start to look for the next new place to be. The question now is; where will we see the next creative boom, and will it even be in London?


If you’re looking for Creative jobs across the entirety of the UK, you can view them here, and if your love for London is as strong as ever, you can find our roles within the capital here.

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