Thinking Of Relocating To The South West?

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In our team, two of us have made the decision to up sticks and relocate to Devon. Sarah twenty years ago from Essex and Julia just a matter of months ago from Cambridge. From our experience – what’s the reality for job seekers?

Want to relocate to the South West?

From the number of job seekers we hear from, that making the move to the South West is something that a fair number of people would like to do.

Sarah explains “I guess I was similar to a lot of people I’ve met over the years when I decided to make the move. I wanted a fresh start. Career wise, I’d reached a level where I’d got enough experience under my belt to feel confident I’d find something job-wise if I moved.”

Once you’ve made the decision it can seem overwhelming and be difficult to know where to start. Do you sort a job before you move? Find somewhere to live then hope you can find something nearby? It can feel a bit ‘chicken and egg’.

Finding work

Job boards can be a good place to give you a feel for the type of roles out there. Plus how often they come up and the salaries you can expect. It can also be worthwhile researching local organisations and checking their vacancies. Not everything will appear on the boards, especially those in the public/third sector.

“I was so excited to be moving but the job side of things was definitely a worry” says Julia. “I’d had a couple of interviews for jobs before being 100% that I going to move and found that really tough. Interviews can be stressful enough without adding a 6-hour journey to get there. So I decided to get my job hunting mission underway once I’d moved.

“I’d obviously done loads of research before heading here and job boards were a good source of information. But I didn’t rely on them to be an absolute reflection. Once I got applying through them it was also time consuming and pretty soulless. Sitting behind a screen not talking to people was really frustrating. With hindsight I’d have made contact with some agencies before moving and made a bee line for them as soon as I was here. This would have given me the lowdown on the job market and the opportunities. And I’m not just saying that because of where I now work!”

Sarah’s experience was slightly different. “I moved to Devon in 1998, pre-job boards and at that time I didn’t own a mobile phone (feeling like a dinosaur whilst typing!). So my approach was to print out my CV and head into Exeter to speak to the agencies. One of them thought I’d be a good fit to their business and I was offered a job as a recruitment consultant. Which is how my career within the industry started.

“I would absolutely recommend you speak to local agencies about your relocation. Consultants in the area will be able to give you a really good flavour of what’s going on, the right way to approach your search for work in the area and support to make sure that you’re successful finding the right opportunity.

“Obviously things have changed significantly in the area in the twenty years I’ve been here. It feels much more vibrant with the number of businesses setting up, relocating and growing which means the job market is really buoyant at the moment. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If you’re thinking about relocating, me or someone else from the team will happily spend time giving you an idea of what you can expect. I’ve had no regrets so would totally recommend it!”

Our thoughts:

  • Online research is your friend but don’t rely on it to tell you everything you want to know. Spend some time in the area beforehand if you can and make contact with local recruitment professionals. This way you’ll get a feel for what’s going on in the area in terms of employment
  • Start your job search before you move only if you’re available to attend interviews and can start the role. If you need to a job in place before you move, be prepared to spend time in the new area if you need to secure a job before you move expect to spend time travelling
  • Know people who’ve been there, done that? Speak to them
  • Be realistic. You can find jobs with good salaries but be prepared to compromise. Especially if you’re heading from London for example and looking for a similar role
  • The recruitment process can take time. Don’t expect to walk in to a job so have a ‘plan b’ so you can manage financially in the short term. That way you’re not forced to accept the wrong job

Some facts about the South West*

  • According to the latest labour market stats, the South West has the third highest rate of employment at 77% and the second lowest rate of unemployment
  • The region has a higher than average number of people employed in skilled/admin/professional and managerial positions – 68% compared to the 66% national average
  • Businesses tend to be smaller with 98% of enterprises employing up to 49 people
  • Full time gross weekly pay is 6% less for full time workers compared to the rest of the UK

*Source: Office of National Statistics Labour Market Profile – South West

Of course there’s are tons of reasons to move to the South West – here’s just a few reasons why you’d might like to head to Exeter for a start!

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