Did you know that 27.7% (17,440) of our young people leave Northern Ireland to study at universities in England, Scotland and Wales last year?
In one university in Liverpool alone (Liverpool John Moores University), there are almost 2000 students there from NI.
People move away for a variety of reasons, some may want to move to a new city and fly the nest, some may be fed up with the tribal politics of Northern Ireland or some may want to meet new people and gain some life experience.
Of the students that do move away, two thirds do not return home after graduating.
That got us thinking… why are so many people moving away for uni? And why don’t they want to return afterwards?
Northern Ireland is a great place with so much to offer, let’s think about it.
We are happy people… I promise
In a recent survey by CV Library, Belfast was voted the 6th happiest place in the UK to live and work in, with 62.5% of respondents in a survey saying they felt happy every day. Reasons given varied from the bustling activity of the business environment, to the peacefulness and close proximity of the coast.
The stunning scenery was also one of the reasons the Game of Thrones cast loved filming here so much. Where else could you be in the city centre and then 30 minutes later be driving along the coast or walking through a really cool forest?
That’s fine but what about job opportunities?
There is a wealth of job opportunities available in Northern Ireland in multiple different sectors, for example, did you know that Belfast is the number 1 destination globally for Fintech investment? That’s a great achievement for a city with a population of just 340,000 people!
There are 900 international companies based in NI who employ over 100,000 people in lots of different sectors, including: manufacturing, accountancy, IT and financial services.
If you are looking to start a career in digital technology, Belfast is where you need to be! Business is booming – from 2011 to 2016 there was a 140% increase in digital births of new start-ups in NI. That demonstrates the strength of our business eco-system here, there are plenty of job opportunities available, you just need to look for them! (Hello Radar 😉)
Cost of Living
Belfast is one of the most affordable cities in the UK to buy a home according to research from Lloyds Bank.
Three cities in Northern Ireland made the top six rankings of cities where house prices are cheapest when compared to earnings. Derry was number one on the list, with Newry third and Belfast sixth. So, if getting a foot on the career ladder and wanting to save for a mortgage is your goal, Northern Ireland is the perfect place to set up shop.
Research from the latest Ulster Bank Student Living Index also found that Belfast is one of the cheapest places to live for students, with an average monthly rent of £325.90, which is well below the UK average of £486. Think of how many extra Boojums that could get you every month!
It might also be worth mentioning the average cost of a pint in Belfast is only £3.20, compared with London where on average a pint costs over £5. £5 for a pint?! Daylight robbery!
The average cost of a pint in Newry was even cheaper at £2.86. Can’t say no to that!
When it comes to grocery shopping, again, Belfast is cheaper compared with the rest of the UK. An average weekly shop for a student based in Belfast comes in at £16.13, compared with £22.54 in England. That may not seem like a massive difference every week, but if you add it up over the year it is over £300 extra in your pocket. Ibiza, anyone?
What about the nightlife?
Okay, our pubs and clubs may close a bit earlier than the rest of the UK, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun on a night out!
Shine has been going since our parents were teenagers and is a rite of passage for any student or young person in NI (not to be dramatic or anything). Although Mandela Hall Is sadly closed now (RIP), Shine continues on and still regularly attracts the best house and techno DJs from across the world, with Nina Kraviz and Bicep playing this summer in Custom House Square.
Summer in Belfast is brilliant for music events. Belsonic has loads of different acts you can go see, from Gerry Cinnamon to Stormzy. Based in Ormeau Park, it is always a great time – especially if the weather is good. If you haven’t been to AVA Festival yet, you really need to. The event takes place in June in S13 on Boucher Road and has an amazing line up of local and international house and techno DJs playing over the weekend.
If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, take a walk around the city centre and enjoy the wealth of bars or restaurants available. From Cathedral Quarter to Limelight, there is so much on offer, you won’t be disappointed!
Don’t count us out!
Northern Ireland, like lots of other countries in the world, has its fair share of issues. But there are lots of good points about living here that don’t get as much as attention as the bad points do.
If you are considering moving away, make sure you have considered all the pros and cons, weighing up money and the value of the experience. If you have moved away already and are not sure about returning, you should do the same. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener!
There are lots of opportunities available here that will help you start your career, finding them can be tricky, but that is why Radar is here to help!
Sign up now to apply for the latest student and graduate job opportunities in NI.