We asked graduates why London is the best place to start a career

Charlie Benson
Content Marketing Executive

Making the move from a smaller city or town to London is a big change. 

If you didn't go to university or have family there, it can certainly be a daunting transition. However, around a quarter of new UK graduates relocate to London each year within six months of graduating. Whether it's the wealth of career opportunities, or the promise of a diverse social life and nightlife - there are many reasons to build a career in London.

GradTouch spoke to graduates from universities across the UK - including Northumbria, Manchester and Warwick - to find out what the appeal was to move, and stay, in London after university. Importantly, we asked what advice they would give to current students or recent graduates considering following in their footsteps. 



The River Thames 


Here are 5 things to expect if you make the move to the big city: 


1. There are loads of graduate opportunities to choose from across the city.  

When we asked London grads what the best thing about living in the capital is, one thing that came up repeatedly was the range and abundance of job opportunities. Alice, who works as a Consultant at global marketing agency Text100, says the major appeal of the city for her is simply that "it's so big, there's so much going on". Recent research places London in the top 3 UK cities for job opportunities and in the top 25 cities across the entire world to be a millennial in 2017, in part because many start-ups launch there. 

Stefano, who works as a Client Associate at Capture (part of Shopper Media Group), found this to be the case too. Particularly if "you're looking at media or marketing," he says, it's the place to be. 

In fact, GradTouch has compiled a list of some of our most exciting opportunities in London right now - if you're considering making the move, take a look. 



2. And you've got the chance to really move up and progress in your career there. 

One of the graduates we spoke to, Becky, started her graduate career in Birmingham, working at recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash. After a year, she relocated to the company's London office. Though she loved her time in Birmingham and studying for her degree in Manchester, Becky quickly realised London was the city for her, as she felt "things weren't moving quite fast enough" in her career outside of the capital. 

Since moving, she's found London has been the place "to really hit the ground running in terms of work," and advises graduates to "always be open to new opportunities" - London certainly has plenty to offer



3. It's an ideal place to meet new people and start again. 

Alice says her top tip for any graduate relocating to the capital would be to really put yourself out there. She says you should "try and move in with new people" and take the chance to expand your social circle. 

She added that things are likely to change post-graduation, and "you might not necessarily get on with your uni friends as much as you thought you did at uni, because you're becoming an adult". 

Whether you choose to live with your best mates or not, for Alice, London has really given her the opportunity "to be more independent". 



4. It can be an expensive choice, but there are ways to make it work for you. 

Perhaps the main reservation students and graduates have about moving to London is the cost involved, particularly rent. When we spoke to Stefano, he confirmed his experience has been that "it's very expensive" to live there. But, for him, that's outweighed by all the opportunities in his chosen field. 

Becky gave some advice on how to manage your finances if you're keen on moving to the city - saying "try not to get too hung up on where you're living". On average, Londoners spend around 75 minutes each day commuting; there's no need to try to live in the city centre just because you work there. London has the highest monthly wages of any UK city and a high proportion of people in full-time work - so if, like Becky, you're not too picky about where you live, you can certainly make it work.

Becky gave the further advice to "try and sign for somewhere with a relatively short let," which gives you the flexibility to relocate if your finances change. 



Covent Garden


5. And ultimately, it's a city where there's something for everyone - you'll never be bored. 

We asked the graduates we spoke to about their favourite locations in London, and they all gave us different answers. Becky loves Covent Garden and Stefano chose Soho, because of the atmosphere.

Stefano says of Soho: "I think it's just really cool - there's loads of random shops there that you just wouldn't normally come across". 

We also spoke to Emma, who works as a Recruitment Consultant at Maxxima based in Shoreditch. She says Shoreditch is her favourite place to be because "it's so much fun, it's good for after work drinks - everyone goes out around here". 

So, whatever you're looking for in an area, be sure to do your research on where is right for you. 

As Alice told us, "every part of London is different - it's not like you're in a boring city where you've done it within a year, 

"There's always stuff to discover."