Thinking about heading to The Big Smoke after graduation? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to London to help you grapple the capital, master the tube, and become a savvy city dweller.
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Whether or not London is a good place to move to after graduation has been hotly contested debate over the years. Some argue that it’s beacon of career opportunities, with so many industries basing themselves in the capital, and that you would be a fool to miss out on the opportunities the city offers. Others argue that London is extortionately expensive, and the amount you pay on rent, transport and food outweighs the benefits of the jobs on offer.
There is no denying that London is unrivalled in the amount of jobs on offer
We’re not going to offer a definitive answer here, it really is up to you and what you think is best for both your personal situation and career. There is no denying that London is unrivalled in the amount of jobs on offer, but businesses are starting to invest more heavily in the regional cities and the cost of living is much less, so there’s no straight answer here. But if you do fancy heading to the bright lights of the big city, here’s what you should expect.
There’s a reason why so many people flock to London after graduation. There are a huge number of job opportunities in the capital, and thousands of businesses have set up shop there. If you’re keen for quick career advancement on a global stage, then London offers the opportunity to network with industry leaders and a range of global connections.
Along with New York, it is one of only two cities to be placed in the Alpha++ category, meaning it truly is a global city. It has also been ranked the best in the world for Mobility and Transportation – big up the Tube.
Pretty much every industry will have a base in London – think tech around Old Street and finance in the City. Plus, with four airports and the Eurostar, the opportunity for global expansion and investment are huge (despite Brexit). Since 2010, 79% of new private sector jobs have been based in the capital – the statistics speak for themselves.
Since 2010, 79% of new private sector jobs have been based in the capital
It’s difficult to pick out the top London employers as so many companies have offices in the capital. In fact, more than 75% of the Fortune 500 companies have London offices; so whatever industry or company you’re looking to work for, London is a solid bet.
Just some of the companies based in London include EY, Arcadia, BT, E.ON, HSBC, Rolls-Royce, Shell, Siemens and Willis Towers Watson (and you’ll find roles for all them on the Debut app, so keep checking).
More than 75% of the Fortune 500 companies have London offices
Cost of living
There’s no denying that living in the capital comes with a pretty hefty price tag. And there is good reason for that. London is home to a wonderful world of culture, diversity, first-class entertainment, vast career opportunities and more avocado eateries than you can shake a stick at.
Contrary to popular opinion, London is not actually the most expensive place to live in the UK. That unfortunate title goes to Oxford, with London coming in 2nd place (still pretty depressing). But we can promise, £10 pints are not a thing and you won’t be paying £1,000 a month to live in a shoe box.
In fact, beers are on average £4-5 depending on where you are and how classy your beer tastes are. For an average size room in shared house you’ll be looking at £600-750 a month, again depending on location and how fancy you want this to be. Make sure to add on an extra £100ish a month for bills (including council tax). And don’t forget the commute.
So while London is of course a damn sight more expensive than other northern cities, people do tend to exaggerate just how expensive it is. You might not have as much disposable income as your friends based in other cities, but living in London in your 20s is an unforgettable experience.
The best thing about living in London? Being on the doorstep of a whole universe of world-class cultural entertainment, top tourist hot spots and some of the country’s best talent. If you’re going to live in London after you graduate, make sure you get out there and make the most of what the city has to offer.
It’s easy to forget about things to do outside of London – there’s enough to do in the city to last you a lifetime. But it’s good to take some time out of the big smoke every once in a while to enjoy some fresh country air. From the city you can easily reach places like Windsor with its famous castle, the cobbled streets of Colchester, England’s original capital Winchester, the stunning Blenheim Palace, Cambridge and its pretty colleges, the beaches of Brighton and the history of Stonehenge.
Also don’t forget how close to Europe you are when based in the capital. Hop on the Eurostar and you could be in Paris or Brussels in a couple of hours. While the city itself is great, don’t forget there is so much more to see, and London is the perfect base for travelling.
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