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What can relocating to the South and working for an SME offer you?

Clare Hackman has a lot of experience recruiting people in the South of England and often finds that people can be reluctant to move out of London or away from one of the major blue-chip retailers. She also finds that many candidates she places in the South stay long-term and enjoy fruitful and fulfilling careers.
I’ve found in my time at Michael Page working within the retail sector, and specialising in Merchandising and Supply Chain, that relocation is often a very scary prospect for candidates. Many candidates write it off before realising the benefits it can offer. It can be a worthwhile route for many reasons, including career progression, where candidates realise that the things which are most important to them in a job and career are readily available in a Southern based SME. Relocation doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect at all, there are some compelling reasons to consider the move:
  • Work/life balance – In cosmopolitan cities like London the competition is fierce and it’s hard to achieve a healthy balance while you strive to get ahead. Commuting times and the expense of living in the city will also take their toll on your work/life balance. Moving South can mitigate many of these issues and help you to find that balance. In smaller business you’ll tend to find that the working environment has a close knit, family-feel to it. You will work closely in a smaller team, and there will be less of a competitive threat allowing you to enjoy your work.
  • Exposure and scope – The likelihood if you are moving away from London to the South is that you are considering moving to a smaller business. The opportunity to join a company on its way up is a compelling prospect. You will be exposed to top line management from the outset and your remit will be wide reaching, allowing you to be involved in multiple projects, from planning to implementation, not just responsible for one aspect. You could be part of major milestones for the business, such as setting up new trading platforms and stores, and involved throughout, feeling like you are making a contribution to the business. 
  • Career progression – This is the biggest positive; while stepping up the career ladder can be competitive, opting to relocate can open doors. Being open to relocation, you are demonstrating your commitment to a business, which they will appreciate. There will also be benefits for your long-term career prospects, as you continue to grow and develop within a growing organisation. Working for an SME can broaden your skill-set, for example, exposure to all facets of the business, which can help enable you to grow and up-skill faster than you realise.
Making a lifestyle move is a big step, and candidates can often believe that the risks outweigh the opportunities. These are some of the concerns that are commonly expressed.
Moving is a big upheaval, how will I find a new home, and wont it cost to move?
More and more businesses are offering financial assistance to help new employees and their families move. Some businesses have even begun working with relocation agencies to help facilitate the best move based on that individual’s criteria. This helps to alleviate the pressure and allows you time and space to ensure the move is as smooth as possible.
What if it doesn’t work out? What are my options?
We always advocate taking all steps to ensure that a job and particularly relocation are right before making a move. By doing your research and considering whether the move is right for you, this situation shouldn’t arise. If it does it’s important to be open and honest with the business and discuss the reasons you feel the move hasn’t worked. There may be ways to fix any issues which have arisen and if there isn’t it is vital that your approach to the matter is dealt with in a professional manner.
What if I don’t make any friends?
Many companies I work with are implementing buddy schemes, pairing you up with someone who has had a similar experience and allowing you to connect with people before you move and join the business. Employee welfare is now so high on the agenda for businesses, particularly SMEs, that there will be a lot of emphasis placed on work/life balance which includes developing team spirit. That will include social events and clubs aimed at developing a team bond. 
Working in an SME will give you more exposure to the wider business, a fuller learning experience and a fast-track route up the career ladder. It is most often a more entrepreneurial route, and offers scope in a role, which ultimately provides a more fulfilling work/life balance. Moving to the South can offer a genuine work/life balance and alleviate the stresses and strains of living and working in the ultra-competitive commercial centres like London. Many of my clients agree:
‘I am a huge advocate of making the move. There are so many businesses and brands choosing to place their business in the South that it’s a great career move. Relocating South (to Brighton) has been the best choice I could have made for my life and career, you get a work/life balance you just can’t achieve in London. It’s the best of both worlds.’
- Collette Flood, Director at Orelia
‘You can have it all; a great place to live, great career prospects and genuine work/life balance. I had always wanted to live by the sea and when the opportunity came up for a job in Devon I jumped at it. I have taken up sailing again which I never thought I would do living in Hertfordshire – it’s like being on holiday!’
- Michelle Blackman, Merchandising Manager at Saltrock Surfwear Ltd
For a confidential discussion about job opportunities on the south coast contact Dave Mann Operating Director at Michael Page Retail
Dave Mann
T: 0207 269 2562