Yes, Your Digital Career Can Thrive Outside of London

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London; it’s innovative, culturally diverse and up until last year (2017) had held on to its title of ‘World’s Most Influential City’ (according to the Global Cities Index). Clearly, London remains one of the world’s most important places, currently coming second to only New York, the home of Wall Street, but does that mean your Digital career can only truly flourish there?

Of course, it doesn’t.  For such a small island, the UK is home to many innovative, culturally diverse and digitally driven cities - And Birmingham is absolutely no exception.

Why the West Midlands?

As the professional focus for many shifts from six figure salaries, long hours and a trendy pad in the city, to a focus on well-being, family and a good work/life balance, I am speaking to many more candidates now looking to re-locate out of London to the West Midlands.

Based in the heart of the country, with exceptional travel links, the West Midlands really does have something for everyone, and what’s more, we’re well and truly on our way up when it comes to driving Digital Marketing and E-commerce.  From big household names to buzzing, forward thinking digital agencies, there are plenty of opportunities across the board in Birmingham, where the scope and nature of projects are just as exciting as those in London.

City, Countryside and Small-Town Opportunities

For those looking to maintain that city lifestyle, Central Birmingham, specifically the Jewellery Quarter and Digbeth, is home to some funky office spaces with a real focus on Digital Marketing and Media. The pace and culture on offer in Birmingham certainly seems to meet the needs of many London re-locators, and with property prices similar to the rest of the UK, it certainly makes both buying and renting seem a little more palatable!

If you’re looking to make a break away from the rapid pace of city life, there is no shortage of rural escapes. Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire are full of rural office buildings, barn conversions with views over green fields, free off-road parking and of course the obligatory, much loved, office dog!

There are also plenty of opportunities that reach a level of compromise for those looking for a steadier pace without being in the middle of the countryside. The West Midlands, and Warwickshire in particular (where Beyond the Book is based) is home to some cracking towns, such as Leamington Spa, Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick, where there is a vibrant and buzzing culture, but with, perhaps, a steadier pace than busy London.

When it comes to opportunities in the West Midlands, we work with an array of in-house (client side) and agency clients who are always on the lookout for top talent.  From household names/brands to entrepreneurial start-ups; whether you’re looking to be an integral part of the machine, and solely responsible for the digital strategy, or whether you’re more at home in a wider and talented digital/marketing team, there is a ‘home’ for everyone with a passion for digital.

The sort of talent highly sought after here in the West Midlands includes (but is not limited to):

  • SEO (at all levels)
  • PPC and Paid Channel specialists (at all levels)
  • Content/HubSpot/Inbound professionals
  • Analytics and Insights specialists
  • CRO/Customer Journey experts
  • Social Media/Outreach/Influencer Marketing

Salary Differences

The reality is, yes, there is a weighting on salaries in London, and you may have to be prepared to take a bit of a dip to move out of The Big Smoke.  However, with property prices and general living costs also considerably less outside of London, it all pretty much evens out.

I’ve written about salaries a fair bit recently, but as a reference point, average salaries for roles in the digital and E-commerce sector are outlined below (of course this is a rough guide, and salaries will change depending on sector, demand, size of the organisation and, of course, how epic you are!):

  • Digital Marketing Executive/Digital Account Manager (2-4 years’ experience): £24-28k
  • Senior Digital Marketing Executive (3-5 years’ experience): £28-32k
  • Digital Marketing Manager (5-7 years’ experience): £32-45k
  • Digital Director (7+ years’): £50k+
  • PPC/Paid Channels Manager (3-5 years’): £30-42k
  • SEO Manager (3-5 years’): £30-42k
  • Content Manager/Strategist (3-5 years’): £32-40k
  • Insights & Analytics Manager (3-5 years’): £32-40k

This is a very small sample of salaries and roles and, of course, at much more senior levels, the salaries will vary.  So if you’re thinking about making the move to the Midlands and would like some advice on what opportunities might be available to you, please do get in touch! 

by Emma Simkiss


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