Lure of London fading for millennials

09 September 2015

  • Less than a tenth of millennials actively want to work in London whilst more than half of millennials will move anywhere for the right job
  • Two in five millennials would rather work for a smaller firm
  • Almost nine in ten SMEs think future success relies on recruiting millennials
  • SMEs are bringing in flexible working procedures to attract millennial talent but acknowledge they need to do more

The ‘brain drain’ to the capital looks to be slowing, with so-called millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – happy to work for a small firm, wherever they are located, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Not all about London
The survey found that relocating to London is not on the agenda for half (51 per cent) of millennials, who would be happy to move anywhere for the right job.

Over a third (35 per cent) don’t want to move away from home, while less than a tenth (eight per cent) insist they will only work in the capital - good news for SMEs located outside of London.

In fact, location ranked seventh on the list of factors that would attract millennials to a business. Number one was salary (49 per cent), followed by flexible hours (35 per cent), career development opportunities (35 per cent), training opportunities (28 per cent), benefits package (25 per cent) and option to work from home (22 per cent).

While almost half (46 per cent) of millennials said they would rather work for a large business, SMEs can take heart from the fact that 41 per cent would rather work at a small firm and 13 per cent had no preference.

Of those who would rather work for an SME, 85 per cent said they think a smaller business is better placed than a larger one to offer them the working conditions they want.

A flexible future

It is estimated that millennials will account for more than half of the global workforce by 2020 and will shape the workplaces of tomorrow, a change that SMEs recognise. Almost nine in ten (86 per cent) said the future growth of their business relies on their ability to recruit millennial talent.

SMEs are banking on policies such as flexible working hours (51 per cent), the option to work from home (28 per cent) and regular training (24 per cent) to recruit millennials.

That tallies well with what millennials said most interested them when looking for a job: flexible working hours (35 per cent), regular training (28 per cent) and the option to work from home (22 per cent).

Gareth Oakley, managing director, SME Banking, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Our research shows that the vaunted ‘brain drain’ to the capital – where the brightest young minds abandon their home towns to seek opportunities in London – isn’t as evident as previously thought.

“Millennials no longer see SMEs as being the poor relation of international corporations. Instead they value their entrepreneurial culture, which they see as being supportive, creative, and full of opportunity to take on responsibility.

“SMEs may need to invest and be willing to change their working practices to remain attractive, which can seem daunting, but they don’t need to go it alone. They should speak to their bank or a local mentoring network for guidance on attracting and investing in the young talent they need to successfully grow their business.”