The Northern Pound: £1 is worth almost 20% more in the North

There’s been a long-held assumption that those working in London get a “better deal” than those in the North. More job opportunities and higher pay are commonly associated with the capital. However, with large companies such as Channel 4 moving headquarters to the North, it’s clear the Northern Powerhouse is thriving.

Totaljobs delved further into the differences between Londoners and Northerners when it comes to working life, income, outgoings and time outside of work. Using a formula derived by Professor of Economics at Lancaster University Geraint Johnes, the research uncovered that despite lower salaries overall, £1 in the North is worth almost 20% more than in the capital.

Northerners get more bang for their buck

Getting into work is a different experience for Londoners compared to Northerners. As predicted, Londoners have the longest commute – at 43 minutes on average, versus 28 minutes for Northerners. One in five people in the capital work within 40 minutes of their home; in stark contrast is York, where one in five live within just ten minutes of the office.

Crunching the numbers showed that the average cost of a Londoner’s commute is £101.50 each month, double that of Leeds (£53) and over £40 more than the commute cost of Manchester (£60). Even the little things, like coffee, show a disparity, with a caffeine boost in London costing 32% more than in Northern cities (£2.40 vs. £1.80).

Though salaries in the North do not top those in the capital, our research reveals a significant difference in quality of living because the money in Northerners’ pockets goes further. This is even true of essential outgoings such as rent costs; those in Manchester pay half the total household rent as those in London (£496 vs. £1,053). When it comes to home ownership, the average property owned in Newcastle is worth just over £170,000, versus the £520,000 price tag in the capital.

Interestingly, only 31% of those currently living in the North would be willing to move, showing Northerners are very content with where they call home. Most likely to stay put are Geordies, with 53% claiming that not even a pay rise would lead them to relocate.

Great news for businesses in the North

This is a sure sign that businesses based in the North can cast their net wider when it comes to recruiting top talent. Talent pools can be established outside of the local area, as our findings show that 53% of those in London would relocate and accept a lower salary if it meant a better quality of life in another city.

Previous research from Totaljobs also revealed that Brits are pretty mobile as a whole, with half open to relocating within the UK for work. The biggest motivations for moving include better lifestyle (42%), improved employment opportunities (38%) and living in a desirable area (32%).

Building a recruitment strategy that encompasses what you can offer people as an employer by way of salary, benefits packages and career development is a given. However, promoting the local area and the lifestyle it lends itself to is a further way you can encourage prospective candidates to apply to your roles. After all, a job is just one component of a person’s life, and often factors outside of the role itself are what holds sway for candidates. We’ve developed our CV Database with the importance of location in mind – meaning that recruiters can search for candidates based on their willingness to relocate.

For those who do move for a new role, businesses should tailor their onboarding process to reflect this. 60% of workers would want their moving costs covered, or receive assistance from their company when looking for temporary accommodation. Those who are open to relocating want to know that an employer is investing in the move as well. Employers can play a pivotal role in aiding the moving process by offering support to workers, which in turn boosts the perception of the brand internally.

Professor Geraint Johnes commented:

“We took an in-depth review of household income, the cost of living and work life balance around the UK to devise a formula offering insight into the true value of the pound in the North of England vs London.

“While salaries may be lower when compared to the capital, overall those in the North are better off, which will come as a surprise to many. We took into account lower house prices and rents, lower living costs, as well as shorter commutes and more free time.”

Alexandra Sydney, Director at Totaljobs commented:

“Gone are the days where a salary is enough to secure the best talent; today’s jobseekers are increasingly valuing work-life balance and their wellbeing above all else.

“Northern cities are seeing a rise in job opportunities as UK companies no longer think the capital is the be all and end all. Many northern cities offer lots of other advantages too, from a shorter (and cheaper) commute, great cultural scene, and a more affordable social life. No matter where they’re based, it’s key for businesses to highlight not just their employer brand, but the lifestyle their local area can provide existing and potential employees.

“Whilst the London bubble hasn’t burst, employers in the North have a fantastic opportunity to offer attractive packages and secure top talent who may not have previously considered a career outside of the capital. It’s clear that the Northern Powerhouse is booming with opportunity”.

Download the Rise of the Northern Pound report

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