Designers spurn regions for London, says report

Despite a drive by regional design groups to promote themselves as equal to London rivals, young designers still focus on consultancies within the M25 when searching for jobs, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Management Personnel recruitment consultancy, finds middleweight designers and below rate London groups more highly than provincial ones. “We try to convince them there are groups out there as good as the London ones,” says Management Personnel assistant manager Justine Evans. Of 900 staff interviewed, 27 per cent named relocation to London high on their list of reasons for leaving their previous jobs.

Evans says that, in addition to prejudice about provincial groups, there is a tendency among recent graduates to gravitate to the capital. “Once they are more established they are more willing to move out of London,” she says.

Recruitment consultant Paula Carrahar of Major Players agrees, saying: “London is more exciting if you’re younger.”

Darren Richardson, design director of Newcastle group Gardiner Richardson, confirms the trend but says things are changing. The three designers at the consultancy all have extensive London experience but, he says, around half a dozen students or recent graduates have approached the group since its launch earlier this year, seeking to remain in the area.

The survey also shows creative staff at all levels put job fulfilment and creativity above pay when changing jobs. Junior designers especially say this, with 28 per cent rating fulfilment as their prime motivator. Account handlers and project managers are revealed as “highly cash-oriented”.

Designers invariably put cash low on their list of priorities, says Evans. “They would generally accept the same money [as already paid] for their ideal job,” she says.

Carrahar agrees that creatives are driven more by job satisfaction than money, but adds that those driven just by cash would prove unpopular with employers and recruitment groups.

Creatives are also put off by office politics. Around one in 12 respondents named disillusionment with office in-fighting as a reason for leaving their jobs.

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