London’s infamous allure, which has for many years been blamed for the “brain drain” of talent from other parts of the UK, seems to be diminishing. The bright lights are dimming and the streets are no longer paved with gold, it appears, as a growing number of people in the media sector is moving out to search for a better quality of life living and working in the North.
The attraction of Yorkshire is very clear across many sectors, but particularly in the TV, Media and Creative sectors. In the wake of the BBC and ITV moving to Media City in Manchester, Channel 4’s new base is now in Leeds and a growing number of TV and film production companies based across the County are already attracting major talent away from London at an unprecedented level.
While the current Covid pandemic has clearly accelerated this exodus, with remote working highlighting the benefits of no more long commutes and a slower pace of life, figures suggest that the popularity of moving to northern England has been increasing for much longer and has more than doubled in the past five years. The opportunities for more space, the beautiful countryside and a quieter life are luring people away from the Capital and its overworking culture, overcrowding, high cost of living and astronomical property prices.
Cities like Leeds and Sheffield, with their close proximity to the rural landscape, are becoming more popular and increasing in appeal. The average house price in London is around three times that of Leeds and with its regeneration, leafy suburbs, excellent shopping and amenities, great employment opportunities and a flourishing cultural vibrancy, the number of Londoners moving to Leeds has seen a steep rise.
Adam Chandler, Managing Director of Wetherby, Leeds and York based video and animation production company, Reel Film, has noticed a significant change in the available talent pool. Previously finding it incredibly rare to receive job applications from London, he explained “the talent pool has clearly opened up and we are attracting many more applicants from London. The calibre has gone up another level too and we’ve seen more senior people looking to escape [London], which brings top level experience from employers such as ITV and Netflix. This has opened up huge possibilities to us as a business by bringing some really fantastic people on board, so we need to be able to attract the best ahead of our competitors.”
So how do you ensure that your business doesn’t miss out on this influx of talent? Sally Bendtson, founder of Limelight HR, which specialises in helping businesses in the creative and media industries, encourages a proactive approach.
“If you are thinking about expanding your business and bringing in new talent in the coming months, now is the time to start building relationships with the people you’ll be looking to recruit. If you leave it too long they will be snapped up elsewhere.” Sally warns.
“Make sure you have a Careers section on your company website that is compelling and up to date, showing not only your current vacancies but prospective roles too. And use social media, such as LinkedIn, as an effective tool to reach out to industry contacts that might be a valuable asset to your team.
“There is no harm in contacting people to ask them about their plans for the next 6-12 months. Being “headhunted” is flattering and the kind of personal approach that helps you to stand out as a potential employer.”
Sally recommends making sure that you are clear about what role you need to fill in order to help you reach your business goals. “Consider how you want the business to develop, what challenges you are likely to face and what skills and experience your ideal person will have. Relocating is a big decision and candidates need to be sure of everything that the new role involves and all that it offers.”
Now is an ideal time to snap up some great talent heading north to Yorkshire and the exodus from London looks likely to continue for some time yet so. To attract the best, it makes sense to speak to a specialist HR professional who can interpret your needs, clearly define your expectations and help you to be the employer of choice. Sally can be contacted on 07939 622278.