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Life and Work: why Edinburgh is an ideal choice

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We all bang on about work-life balance, but for many it’s a pipedream. Tedious commutes, OK housing (with a bit too much crime around the edges), a longish drive to anywhere nice (like the beach and the sea), a real slog to get to the airport/station and generally stressful living conditions all make modern life not quite what you’d prefer it to be.

Accordingly, this seems like a good time to tell you that earlier this year Edinburgh was ranked second in a global quality of life survey (behind Wellington in New Zealand, which we think is a bit far for your next construction career move).  

Published by Deutsche Bank, the study of 47 cities examined everything from salaries and rents to cheap dates, weekend breaks and even the weather.  The Bank summed up Edinburgh thus, “A consistent all rounder. Decent opportunities, average costs but less stressful living/working conditions.”

More specifically, Edinburgh was 24th worldwide in terms of salary, with the typical net pay after taxes reaching £1,776 ($2,293) a month.  And the good news is that this average Edinburgh salary allows a very high quality of life compared to the rest of the cities surveyed.  While high in Scottish terms, property is cheap compared to the very expensive areas of England and if you move outside the city you can have a very nice house indeed for a reasonable price.  Green spaces abound, there are wonderful parks and leisure spaces, trendy eating establishments (try Leith) and all the culture and entertainment you’d expect of a city whose other name is the “Athens of the North.”

For those bringing up children, education in Edinburgh is of a very high standard, both in the state sector and the many independent schools (nearly 25% of pupils in Edinburgh attend an independent school).

Add in the world-renowned Edinburgh Festivals, the two UNESCO World Heritage sites (the Old and New Towns), with another (the Forth Rail Bridge) only a few miles away, and you have a lot of very good reasons for considering relocation north of the border.

The shops in Scotland’s capital are as good as you’ll find anywhere in the UK (and generally not as expensive as London), the food and drink is fantastic, you can visit the café where the Harry Potter novels took shape and if you want to see the sea/beach, play golf, go fishing, hillwalking or skiing, you have a very much shorter journey than you would from most comparable English cities!

The Deutsche Bank report also notes that “mega cities” like Tokyo New York, Paris, London, Shanghai and Mumbai rank very low. This is primarily due to high living costs, crime, pollution and commuting time: areas in which Edinburgh scores highly, ranking second best for healthcare and third in terms of its pollution levels.  Moreover, Edinburgh’s low commuting time means citizens spend the least amount of time travelling to work of any of the 47 cities analysed.

The report also included weather, which some might think of as Edinburgh’s Achilles’ heel. In fact, people see the weather in the east coast of Scotland as an attraction.  The truth is that our east coast is fairly dry (especially compared to the west!), with good sunshine in the summer and moderate temperatures all year round. 

And before you ask what work opportunities there are in this neck of the woods, bear in mind that Scottish employment is actually higher than in the UK as a whole, with construction, especially QS, engineer and site manager, roles going at top dollar rates.  Perhaps it is time to consider your options for your next career move, and, if so, it’s definitely time to think about a move to east-central Scotland.

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment

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