Founded by Managing Director Lee Biggins in 2000, CV-Library has rapidly become one of the UK’s largest online job sites, attracting over 3.8 million unique candidates every month and featuring a database of almost 11 million CVs. Recent research conducted by the company found that London-based UK professionals are officially Britain’s poorest workers. In this interview, Lee discusses the imbalance between the capital’s salaries and its livings costs, the effects this may have on other regions in the UK and which areas are now creating the ‘richest’ employees.
Your recent research found that Londoners are the poorest workers in the UK due to the discrepancy between earnings and living costs. Were you surprised by these findings?
The findings weren’t overly surprising – this is the second year that we’ve conducted this research, and London is continuing to boast sky-high living costs which can outweigh the fact that it pays the highest salaries. It’s a great shame because there are some fantastic opportunities in the capital and it is home to some great businesses, which many job hunters would love to work at.
Do you predict that the gap between London’s salaries and its increasingly unaffordable living costs will increase further still?
It is likely that this will continue to happen until the government truly tackle the issue head-on. There are efforts being made to help people get on the property ladder, and the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement, which revealed the abolition of letting agent fees, could also go some way to helping Londoners to manage their high outgoings.
Do you think we will see an increasing trend of new talent and employees moving further afield in search of more affordable living costs? Do you think this will affect certain industries over others?
It’s difficult to predict, but our own data reveals that there are exciting job opportunities in other parts of the UK, and certain cities and regions have seen standout growth in 2016. For example, in October 2016, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Portsmouth and Southampton all witnessed above-average job growth compared to the previous year. Alongside this, salaries increased in Liverpool, Stirling, Cardiff, Dundee and Glasgow during this time. This, coupled with more affordable living costs could attract workers who are after a more comfortable lifestyle.
Could we potentially see London employees looking to commute from increasingly large distances? If so, do you think this will be sustainable over time?
This could potentially happen, though factoring in the rising cost of travel, this may not be sustainable. Of course a lot of people choose to live on the outskirts of London, where a commute into town takes about an hour and this does seem to work. The work-life balance element is important though and this can often be the deciding factor for tired, stressed-out workers that are dragging themselves cross-country on a daily basis.
Could employees potentially moving away from London be seen in a positive light? For example, could this be a key development for local economies elsewhere in the UK?
Absolutely! One of the growing trends in recent years is the Northern Powerhouse and our findings reflect this. Living up north can be a lot more affordable and there are some great opportunities up there. The government is determined to rebalance the economy away from London and the south-east, and the potential talent migration could help with this.
Which regions in the UK now look to offer the best combination of salary and living costs? Could this ‘richest’ region for employment easily change next year?
Employees in Scotland and the North of England will be some of the best-off over the next few years. This is because of low living costs and strong salaries, as well as the investments from the government in the North. We don’t expect this to change dramatically within the next year – the nation is still finding its feet post-Brexit and average salaries have remained pretty stagnant over the past few months.
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