North-South divide

People in the UK are less prepared to relocate for work these days. The North/South Collide, a workforce study carried out by the Centre for Business Research at Manchester Business School, found that only 10% of employees would be happy to move elsewhere in the UK for work.

The study interviewed more than 1,000 people working in the UK across all industry sectors and age groups and was on behalf of telecoms company, Telewest Business.

Fewer people working and living in the North would consider moving south for work than 10 years ago, the study said.

“There was a tradition for people to move south to work,” said Lucy Daly, research business manager at the centre. “The study shows that is not the case anymore as people have strong ties to their existing location.”

There were a few exceptions. In Yorkshire and Humberside, 32% were still prepared to relocate throughout the UK for work. A high number of respondents from the region also said their job was the only one they could find (17%).

East Midlands workers are as prepared to relocate for work today as they were 10 years ago. The region had the smallest proportion of respondents who liked their job and did not want to move (50%), with 40% saying their employment options were limited.

In contrast, few people in the South-East felt employment prospects were limited in their region. More than three-quarters of respondents said their prospects were either good (41%) or excellent (36%).

Many people working in the North-West (43%) also considered their employment prospects to be good. In Scotland, 39% of respondents said their prospects were good or excellent.

Daly said this perception of employment possibilities was the biggest regional difference. “The most commonly given response to the questions was that people really liked their jobs and wouldn’t want to move. But the thing that seemed to show the most difference was people’s beliefs of their employment prospects.”

Being close to family and friends and within a 30-minute commute from home was cited by respondents as the most important reasons for working in their existing region. The working environment was also a deciding factor. “One of the things that surprised me was how important employee attitude and culture was in looking for a job,” said Daly.

“Also, while salary was important, the thing that ranked almost equally high across all regions was the location.”

Respondents based in the South-East, the North-West and in Scotland expressed concern that moving elsewhere to work would adversely affect their pay packet.

This concern was most prevalent in the South-East, where 36% of respondents said they would have to take a pay cut if they moved out for work. Scotland had the largest proportion of people that would not want to relocate because their standard of living would fall (29%), with a further 32% saying they would not get the same pay and benefits elsewhere.

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