Where do you want to work? Home or away?

216157Many of you are young(ish), free and mobile, able to travel wherever you want with no mortgage and family ties.

So you might go anywhere after graduation, right?  Apparently not!

Graduate employment data tells us that when looking for jobs after graduation, students are remarkably conservative in their behaviour.

Typically choices are in this order

  1. Stay where you study
  2. Go back home
  3. Go to London, if there is no other choice

Very few go abroad, even to Europe.

It makes sense really

  1. You have built a network of friends, may have a significant other, and you feel reasonably comfortable that the transition from student to employee will be easier somewhere you know.
  2. Going home may mean free accommodation and you may have family and friends to support you.
  3. Going to London is just inevitable for some jobs – they just don’t exist anywhere else in large quantities.

So lets look at the options to see how they stack up

Staying where you study

If you studied in Manchester that’s a pretty good option, it’s the UK’s 2nd city after London and offers a really good range of opportunities.

There are approx 2.5k graduate jobs in Manchester, BUT WAIT there are another 2.5k graduate jobs in the greater Manchester region (includes Salford, Trafford, Stockport etc)

Some of you may never have left the comfortable surrounds of the city centre and the Oxford Road / Wilmslow Road corridor, you may worry that the suburbs and towns are dull or too far away to commute to and socialise from.  WRONG! Manchester has one of the best public transport networks in the UK and it’s cheaper than many other places too.

Living out of the centre can be cheaper and can give you access to the countryside if that’s your thing.  Do a bit of exploring, take the bus, tram or train and find out what Altrincham or Rochdale or Wigan have to offer. Or even just where they are!

All the jobs are in london – err, no actually they aren’t

If you want to be a Surveyor, Engineer (all kinds, especially mechanical), Pharmacist, Doctor, Social worker, Nurse, Teacher or HE lecturer, then more than 80% of the jobs are outside London

But the following roles are concentrated in London: Investment banker, Economist, Broker, Media researcher, PR professional, Management consultant. (There are some opportunities in Manchester and other big cities but not in such big numbers)

Don’t get me wrong London has a lot to offer, but don’t assume that a move to London will get you the job you want unless you have done the research first.

  • London is big… no really big!  You think sitting on the 42 bus for 40 minutes in rush hour is bad, your commute in London could be a lot longer… and more expensive!
  • You may have to live a long way out or in a less desirable area to be able to afford a flat share or studio.

So do the maths – look at the salary and work out the cost of living. The Office of National statistics produce cost of living data by region

Going home  – free accommodation or is it?

You may be lucky enough to return home to your parents, but that free accommodation could have hidden costs.

  • You may be out of the loop in terms of what opportunities are available locally, don’t assume your family will be up to date in the latest labour market information.
  • Your family home may not be in the best location for commuting to where the jobs YOU want are. Two buses a day in rural locations can be a little limiting!
  • Your family may not take kindly to you sitting around all day, you could find your job search becomes the main topic of conversation. Believe me it gets dull fast!

On the plus side…

  • Your family may have connections who know other connections, they may be able to help you find those hidden jobs.
  • Being able to save up a bit of money may help you to finance a move when the right job comes along.

How about pastures new?

Could you move to a new place that you don’t know?  Many of you took that leap of faith coming to University.

Whatever you do it need not be forever.  Making a choice now does not close doors to other options later, in fact it could open up new opportunities you have never considered.


  • Look at all jobs not limited by geographical location – do you find any you have not seen before that you might be interested in?
  • Find out about other cities, maybe you have friends who live there who can give you a tour or help you look for work.
  • Check out our regional jobsearch links to get a flavour of a place and what’s on offer
  • Could you work overseas?  Investigate visas and skills shortages if you are looking outside Europe.  Consider language and working culture too, you may find you are more comfortable with some places than others.

So i’m just saying don’t rule places out because you don’t know them, and don’t assume other options will always be better or worse.

The grass is not always greener – sometimes it’s just a different shade!


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