Matt Fraser, team manager - town planning, Penguin Recruitment, answers a common career dilemma around whether to relocate for work and the perks and pitfalls to consider.
Question: “I’ve seen a couple of senior planning roles that really appeal to me - one in Newcastle and one in Wales, but I live in London. What do I need to know about relocating?”
Matt Fraser says…
The first thing to be aware of is that you’re not alone in considering relocating for work. A 2019 study from employer branding agency, Wonderful Workplaces, revealed that one in five are interested in relocating from one part of the UK to another (rising to 33% of town planning professionals specifically). And 41% of town planning professionals are interested in international job opportunities (compared with 31% of overall respondents across all sectors).
With Brexit still on the horizon, this may be another motivator for you to consider moving abroad. In fact, the same study showed that 30% of town planning professionals have said Brexit has made them consider relocating abroad for work, with New Zealand being among the places that appeal the most.
When it comes to making such a life-changing decision, you need to consider the likely impact on your career, lifestyle and family. Life in Newcastle, Wales or indeed New Zealand, is very different from London. Research the culture before you apply, contact the companies to find out about their relocation packages. What incentives are they offering? Will they cover relocation costs such as shipping? Will they provide or pay for your accommodation either permanently or at least while you settle in and find your own place? Before you take the job, you should try and spend some time in the area to get a real feel for how you would adjust to a long term move.
No one knows the area better than the company and its employees, so ask for advice on the best areas, schools and transport links to help give you the best chance of making the move as smooth and successful as possible.
Relocating can offer you a broader scope to develop your career more quickly than if you were to limit yourself to roles within a certain geographical area. This could be in the form of a promotion, more interesting work or a unique experience, for example. You might even find that a different region or country offers you (and your family if you have one) a better quality of life, or an environment that better suits you. It could just offer you a change of scenery that you might be craving!
Before you take the plunge, consider the consequences should the job turn out not to be what you were expecting or if you get made redundant. Are there many other career opportunities for you in the area? Would you be happy and ready to simply move back home and would there be many jobs available for you there should you choose to return?
Relocating for work, especially if you have dependents, always involves some level of risk. But the adventure and rewards could far outweigh the risks in the long term. It could be the opportunity of a lifetime which you’ll never forget, giving you a different perspective on life as well as town planning as a profession.
Explore the latest town planning jobs with Penguin Recruitment