There is certainly a heatwave going on at the moment and London is a real hot-spot. And not only weather-wise. Every other day there seems to be a report on how prices are extortionately high in the capital, particularly in the housing sector for Generation Rent.
The Daily Telegraph on Monday reported that the average home in London is now 2.2 times that of the rest of the UK. It is more important than ever to look at what is going on outside of London to other major cities and towns in the UK. Most large corporates and businesses will have at least one regional office, but as people consider moving out of London as house prices continue to rise, another question is raised. What can businesses do to ensure that they are not London centric and attract a wider talent pool?
For example, Birmingham is flourishing. The Law Society Gazette back in May published a report on businesses in Birmingham. Lawyers there are helping to drive a “civic and economic renaissance” in the city. Many firms, especially law firms, are placing their trust in the city’s ability to combine extremely high quality work with a considerably lower cost base than London. One aspect of the Birmingham legal market is that it offers expertise and experience in a context where value for money is important. Any client will seek both expertise and value for money. Figures suggest that around 70% of Birmingham’s law firms are looking to expand in 2014. This is a significant number. Indeed, if large in-house teams in professions such as financial services begin to move more operations to Birmingham, it would cement its status as a leading city. Looking towards the future, the city will benefit from HS2 and Deutsche Bank is poised to double its Birmingham workforce to 2,000. Further as the Telegraph points out, the financial centre of Birmingham is just twenty minutes’ drive from stunning country villages. This is an important consideration when attracting new talent.
Looking Northwards, Leeds is the second biggest legal market outside London. The Lawyer, however, this week points out that the biggest firms have reduced their headcounts there. This is partly due to a change of strategy with many corporates dealing with international work. Having said this, The Lawyer shows that there are encouraging signs in Leeds, for example firms such as Bond Dickinson and Gateley have chosen to move in there, along with the establishment and growth of smaller Leeds firms such as Clarion.
So whilst summer definitely continues here in Staple Inn, there are sunnier climes elsewhere too.
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