A northern boy in London

London is one of the most expensive cities to live in around the world, however the bustling capital continues to attract people from afar. The most recent Business Register and Employment Survey shows that 454,700 people are employed in the City of London. This represents 1.5% of the UK’s total employment, meaning that over 1 in 100 of the UK’s workforce are employed in the City (Office for National Statistics).

We asked one of our Recruitment Consultants, Liam Walters (left) who moved down from Cheshire to give us an insight on his experience so far.

Where did you move from? Why London?

I moved from the sleepy rural town of Knutsford, Cheshire. The reason why I wanted to move into London in particular was due to a number of chats I had with friends I met when travelling who already lived in London. Whilst in Portugal, I actually met someone who works at X4 Group and became very good friends. When I came to visit him in London he took me along to an X4 Lunch Club and this introduced me to the lifestyle. I immediately knew it was for me.

What does London offer you that Knutsford doesn’t?

Salary, opportunity and excitement! Last year I managed to earn over double the salary I could achieve working up North. There is always something going on in London, whether it’s watching a pop-up concert in the apple store, going for drinks in Covent Garden or seeing the England rugby team playing at Twickenham.

What do you like most about living here?

My favourite thing about living in London is seeing how excited my northern parents and friends are when they come and visit! I like being able to say I’ve done it when people older than me say that they wished they had moved to London when they had the chance.

Anything you miss from the North?

The girl I used to date……

What are your biggest challenges?

Making sure that I don’t take my foot off the gas and finding the right balance between work and play. It’s a competitive industry that requires long hours, but working in recruitment is perfect for me as I enjoy working hard when I know there are big rewards at the end of it.

How do you find the higher cost of living?

I haven’t really noticed it. Secret tip: use buses as much as you can! I travel 40 minutes from Streatham (South West) into Central London and it’s only £3 a day.

When I first moved here I was paying around £650 for a room which I was happy with. I waited until I was earning enough before moving into something more expensive. My rent is now £850 including all bills. For this I share a whole house with my best friend and it includes Sky TV, Wi-Fi and a huge bedroom with en suite toilet/shower etc.

Most of my income is spent on socialising and enjoying myself! There is so much to do in London it is hard not to go out every day/night. I love it!

There is a local pub back home that sells pints for £1.85 and my local in London costs £5.50. But I’d much rather be drinking a pint in a rooftop bar overlooking the Thames than a pub with no atmosphere. Also, the fact X4 Group has a free bar in the office on Thursday’s and Friday’s really helps keep costs down! Most places in Cheshire sell pints for the same price as London bars.

How easy did you find the move down when you got the job at X4 Group? Where did you look?

Really easy as I moved in with another X4 employee who was also looking for accommodation at the same time. Working for a company that takes on a lot of trainees at similar levels is a real advantage as there are plenty of people in the same boat at the same time.

What do you like most about working in recruitment?

I like the fact that you’re running your own business, within the business. There is genuine entrepreneurship required for the role. Your market is essentially your business and is a direct reflection on you.

What advice would you give to anyone moving to London from the North?

Don’t think everything is far away just because they look far on a map. I turned down a great house in Balham as I thought it wasn’t close enough to my friends in Clapham. But, after a month of being here I realised that you can nip from Clapham to Brixton, Balham, Tooting or even Central London in 20 minutes.