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UK firms move more head office roles outside London amid soaring costs


UK firms move more head office roles outside London amid soaring costs

UK companies are increasingly moving head office jobs outside of London, according to new data, amid rising living and housing costs in the capital.

Figures from analytics firm Vacancysoft showed that London-based job advertisements in executive management, human resources and marketing made up 41 per cent of all open roles last year, dropping from nearly 50 per cent immediately before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The North of England and Midlands have gained a bigger share of the total during this period, with Manchester positioning itself as an alternative to London.

Recent years have seen more businesses expand outside London in response to inflation raising salaries and remote working trends leading to smaller offices and less reliance on commuting.

A slowdown in dealmaking, fuelled by economic uncertainty and high interest rates, has pushed banks and professional services companies in the Square Mile to cut costs and reverse much of the hiring done immediately after Covid-19 lockdowns.

London saw a 50 per cent drop in traditional head office job listings last year, the most of any region, according to Vacancysoft.

The capital’s housing crisis has also deterred young professionals from moving to London. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed home rental costs in the capital jumped at a record pace in February to an average of more than £2,000 per month.

“For policymakers looking to stimulate the London economy, these findings should cause concern,” Vacancysoft chief executive James Chaplin told Bloomberg News.

“The trend to regionalisation is undeniable. Occupancy ratios remain below pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile Manchester increasingly is positioning itself as the capital of the North.”

“People graduating from Manchester University, for example, no longer feel they have to go to London to advance their careers,” he added. “Manchester has leading institutions across finance, law and technology clustered there.”

Original Article: CityA.M

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