I was recently asked to take part in TechNorth’s Boomerangs series, in which people tell their stories of returning to the North after a stint in London.
I moved to London in 2011 — like many, I’d had a great career in Manchester but to take the next step, I felt that moving to London was a smart move. It was — I had an awesome time, met great people and ended up being part of one of the biggest tech exits in recent years when we sold Shutl to eBay.
A few years later when my wife and I were thinking of buying a house, we knew that London wasn’t right for us — we weren’t prepared to have a 60+ minute commute every day and, given our much-loved, 1-bed, zone 2 rental flat recently sold for £750,000, we weren’t about to get a mortgage in the centre of the city.
Manchester was a much better option and it’s one of many places outside of London where you can have a great job in tech without having a million pound mortgage. Companies and teams are continuing to move into Manchester from surrounding areas to create a concentration of talent — started by the BBC in 2007 and continuing with the likes of Sainsbury’s, GCHQ and startups. One of Manchester’s great institutions, the Co-op, is building one of the country’s biggest digital transformations right from the city centre in Co-op Digital.
It’s an easy place to live, too. Our visitors from London are always very impressed by the Metrolink, which now boasts a frequent and reliable service that covers a large local area, and is still expanding.
So, I’m a boomerang. In fact, I’m a double boomerang as I’ve now chosen to move to Manchester not once in my life, but twice. There must be something to it, right?