Is Suffolk the best place to live and work in the UK?

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In 2017, an independent report from the Royal Mail released its annual ranking system and showed that Ipswich and Norwich were two of the ‘most desirable places to live and work’ in the UK. The report – that was conducted by the consultancy firm Centre for Economics and Business Research – looked at a number of factors to determine their findings. Two years on, One hosted a business event based around recruitment, to see if East Anglia was still at the top of the league when it comes to enticing some of the world’s best employees to the region.

“Suffolk is one of the best places to live and work in the UK, but it needs to do more to attract talent from elsewhere to cope with an ever changing jobs market.” That was the view of George Chittock-Nash, Assistant Principal at One.

Mrs Chittock-Nash, helped organise this event at One that was attended by over 30 guests.

She went on to discuss specific issues relating to the recruitment of staff into education before inviting guest speaker - Jim Marshall from Marshall Wolfe - to look at the recruitment landscape in the county and beyond.

The Chief Executive Officer, said, “To compete nationally for talent organisation’s in Suffolk [and our wider region] have to present themselves as genuine ‘employers of choice’. It’s not difficult to persuade certain cohorts to the region. We are very good at encouraging individuals who have young families and who are looking for a lifestyle change.

“However, if you’re wanting to attract someone who has just left university, then it can be harder to entice them. We either have to create something really compelling to get them to come to the region or we have to accept that we have to adapt our business to get people in.

“We also need to be realistic about salaries on offer. Although Suffolk is [compared to London] a relatively inexpensive place to live, we need to be prepared to offer enticing salaries to attract the best talent. All too often we see firms willing to pay top dollar for individuals in London, but disproportionally lower remuneration packages for local employees.”

Mr Marshall was brought up in Reydon and now has offices in this county and the city. He feels that Suffolk and East Anglia has a certain bouncebackability.

“Individuals who have formerly lived in Suffolk are a good target market. I would not have my business anywhere else. Most of our customers are London based. At first they are often bemused by our choice of HQ. However, I can be in the city within an hour from Manningtree [that is speedier than many of them achieve from their homes] - we are well placed in that respect. And Suffolk is a great place. I live just outside of Woodbridge and you can go into a pub and have a really enjoyable evening or you can go to Shingle Street and not see a soul and that escapism is real. It’s a great community to be a part of.”                                                                                                                            

18 year old Alexia Dixon Garcia is from Manningtree. She is currently studying four A-levels at One and also has a key role working 30 hours a week in her family business called Oranges and Lemons.

She said, “To get the job you want, you will have to work hard for it. In terms of where that might be, I’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.”

17 year old Darryl, from Ipswich, said, “I’d be happy to work anywhere as long as I’m happy with what I do.”

Organiser of the event, George Chittock Nash, added, “The event gave some wonderful insights into recruitment and what businesses can do to attract the right employees to their organisation. As a business, you need to get to the bottom of what your core values are and then once you have done that, attracting some of the top talents from anywhere in the country or the world should look after itself.”