With hubs of both industry and entertainment emerging across the UK, it’s fair to say that London no longer has a monopoly on good living. But in terms of both career opportunity and leisure options, the capital is still head and shoulders above contenders country-wide.
Samuel Johnson once said that when a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life; and there’s a hell of a lot more to do now than there was in Sam’s day. It’s also considerably less smoggy.
There truly is something for everyone in the Capital; nowhere else in the country offers such a boundless buffet of things to do, places to see, and provision for every lifestyle imaginable.
Having space and opportunity to feed whatever makes you happy—whether that’s a culture-packed schedule, taking time for yourself, or relaxing outdoors—is hugely important to maintaining work-life balance, and it’s something that many of today’s workforce, and millennials in particular, struggle with.
Dodging the millennial burnout
For most millennials, the pressure to always be doing something is palpable. Overworked is the new normal. Many young workers labour under near-constant social and professional burdens that weigh heavy on their wellbeing, pushing them into the burnout danger zone.
Though London has a reputation for being a hard-working city, it’s not impossible to achieve a happy medium between professional achievement and healthy inner life here.
How London supports work-life balance
The average working week in the Capital is shorter than anywhere else in the UK, giving London workers ample time to do the things that matter to them.
New York might be the city that never sleeps, but London is also a true 24 hour city. The Tube runs throughout the night, giving you excellent access to transport links and the city’s round-the-clock leisure facilities whenever you want them.
According to research from Clarendon, the average number of hours worked per week in the UK is 39.1. Perhaps surprisingly, Londoners actually clock less than the UK average, putting in roughly 38.7 hours of work every week. This average drops to 37.2 hours for those working within the City of London.
CV Library recently named London in their top 10 cities for work-life balance, and employers like Transport for London and Apple are among those recognised for having the best work-life balance in the UK, according to research by Indeed.
Flexibility is a big part of maintaining great work-life balance, and businesses in the city are catering to the growing demand for flexibility—more than half of Londoners enjoy some kind of flexible working arrangement.
London was also named the fifth best city for remote workers in a recent report by Powwownow, based on cost of living, average monthly salary, internet speed, price of coffee, and cost of public transport.
A city of opportunity
London’s job market is incredibly diverse, so you’re sure to find a role to match your ambitions here no matter where you want to take your career.
There are hundreds of thousands of job vacancies open in London right now, the majority in finance, accounting, and IT. The city’s tech sector has exploded in recent years, and technology’s dominance in the job market is only set to continue, especially given the likes of Microsoft, Telefonica, and Oracle have committed to creating one million new tech positions in the city over the next four years.
Providing ample opportunity for IT professionals, this growth also gives a boost to adjacent industries, with recruiters like Frank Recruitment Group creating multiple new consultant positions to support the area’s tech boom.
The average salary is higher here too, coming in at £43,249; a significant cut above the UK average of £29,588. Salaries in London have increased by 3.9% year-on-year, despite the national annual average dipping by -0.6%.
And while higher wages do go hand-in-hand with higher living costs in London, shacking up in a cheaper, less-central borough won’t isolate you from the action thanks to the city’s extensive transport system.
The only thing that rivals the Capital’s job offerings for quantity and quality is its leisure opportunities. Heaving with historic landmarks, museums, galleries, parks, concerts, and classes, you’ll never run out of things to do and opportunities to unwind—and many of them are free to boot.
London isn’t the centre of the universe, but for young people looking to balance extensive career opportunities with a rich and vibrant personal life, you still can’t beat The Big Smoke.