Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 hit ‘Sunscreen’ proudly declares that everybody should live in New York City once, but to leave before it makes you hard. London is pretty much the same. Spending time in the Capital is exciting and impressive on a CV; it demonstrates that you’ve made a go of cracking a tough place to live in, especially if it was to further your career.
It may be expensive and intimidating, but just below the surface is a bubbling city with something for pretty much everyone, regardless of budget. According to research from Clarendon, the average working week in London is shorter than anywhere else in the UK, which also means you’ll have plenty of time to get out and explore. No wonder it’s a destination for millennials looking to make their first serious move.
Let’s not fool ourselves; there are absolutely cheaper cities to live. For the price of a tiny room in a big house-share, you could have your own place somewhere like Newcastle, but good luck having as much to do as you would in The Smoke.
Making the move
The city is a haven for those seeking a work hard, play hard experience. Statistics from the Centre for Cities show that those in their 20s flock to London, whereas those in their 30s and 40s are more likely to leave. And although the rental prices may be a little overwhelming at first, the likelihood is that you’ll spend most of your time outside anyway, before settling down and moving away to somewhere you can call home.
It’s also worth remembering that high rent is also accompanied by higher earnings. You’ll be remunerated more than living anywhere else in the country, with the average salary in London totalling £43,249 compared to the national average of £29,588. There are jobs in pretty much every single sector too, so no matter what your career ambitions, they can be met in the Capital.
London is home to some of the biggest banking, pharma, media, fashion and technology companies in the world, and pretty much any industry is catered for. If you haven’t quite decided on what you want to do, a career in recruitment can be incredibly rewarding financially. It’s an industry that can require long hours but pays handsomely to those that achieve. Fortunately, London has plenty of jobs in IT recruitment, especially if you can speak another language.
Work hard, play harder
Millennial burnout is an increasing phenomenon, as 20- and 30-somethings struggle with their work/life balance. Thankfully, London is home to a number of companies that recognise highly skilled professionals need a balance in their lives and offer a number of incentives such as flexible working hours to accommodate and attract talent. Basically, if your move to the Capital is a serious career decision, you will thrive.
If your focus is more on the leisure side than your earning potential, then you’re still in luck. Even if you aren’t earning a huge amount from the beginning, you can do London on a budget. A big percentage of it is made up of publicly accessible parkland, which means it’s one of the greenest cities in the world. You can spend hours taking in the likes of Hyde Park, wiling away weekends listening to soapbox speeches at Speaker’s Corner or finding a relaxing spot to settle down with a book.
If you want something a little faster-paced, there are restaurants, bars and nightclubs to suit virtually every taste and budget and they’re open pretty much round the clock. If you want to eat bagels at 3.30am then head to Brick Lane where they’re available 24 hours a day, no problem! London has something to suit whatever pace you want to live at.
For those who are more active, the London City Runners club is a great group that regularly hold sessions for runners of all abilities including novices, as well as owning their own running-themed venue. Perfect for refreshing and socialising afterwards!
Once you’ve worked a sweat and want to actually relax, then the Capital is home to any number of ways to chill out. You can shop at malls like the Westfield or take in one of several fantastic markets such as Greenwich, Camden or Broadway. The Top Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden is one of the city’s cheapest and best ways to sit and have a good chuckle.
Hopefully, this makes London seem a much less intimidating option. If you want to have a few years working hard and playing hard, having fun in the process, then it’s a wonderful place to achieve the optimal work-life balance, with a plethora of employers ready to support you doing so.