A warm welcome to the February issue of PerchPeek’s UK Market Monthly update!
Here’s where you’ll find the hottest updates around employee relocation and international talent strategy, insights from our experts on housing and cost-of-living news affecting your staff, the latest trends in global mobility, and tips and tricks on ways to support your teams.
A fly-by summary
● The UK-India Young Professional Scheme, offering 3,000 UK visas to degree-holding Indian nationals per year, presents a great opportunity to recruit bright young talent
● More and more UK employers are looking to hire from abroad to help plug the skills gap, with the number of work-related visas issued up 129% on the previous year
● Average UK rent up 10.8% YoY, average Greater London rent is over £2,000 for the second month on record, and other UK rental market trends affecting employees
● Water bills to increase by 7.5% from April, households on benefits to receive an extra £301 payment this spring, and more - the latest UK cost of living updates for February
● PerchPeek’s spotlight on renting in Manchester - current rental costs and our pick of popular neighbourhoods, from family-friendly Didsbury to the trendy Northern Quarter!
The UK and India have long had a close relationship when it comes to developing young talent through further study and work opportunities. As of summer 2022, India overtook China as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas in the UK. Plus, India continues to be the top nationality being granted Skilled Worker UK visas, making up 46% of all such visas issued.
In the year ending June 2022 (the latest government data issued):
● Nearly 118,000 student visas were issued to Indian nationals (89% YoY increase)
● Nearly 103,000 work visas were issued to Indian nationals (148% YoY increase)
Now, the UK government has launched the UK-India Young Professional Scheme, which will offer 3,000 UK visas per year to degree-holding Indian nationals aged between 18 and 30.
The visa will grant permission to live and work in the UK for up to two years. Plus, since it’s a reciprocal agreement, it works the other way too - UK nationals may apply for an Indian visa.
How can companies benefit?
This scheme offers a massive opportunity for People teams to fill open roles by targeting India’s bright young professionals. Those focused on talent acquisition are advised to increase hiring efforts for qualified Indian nationals, and to investigate the process for obtaining this visa.
It’s likely to prove especially popular for tech-related roles; and worth noting that there may be competition from other brands! Therefore, having a well thought through and financially sound relocation plan will be essential for attracting the best talent.
According to Startups.co.uk, more and more UK hiring managers are looking abroad in their efforts to fill open roles and narrow the widening skills gap. Data from Google Trends shows that searches for ‘skilled worker visas’ soared by 156% between January 2022 and 2023!
What’s more, a whopping 78% of employers said they were struggling to appoint new staff, according to a recent survey, citing issues around Brexit and the so-called ‘Great Resignation’.
The Skilled Worker visa is the easiest solution for employers to sponsor new hires for long-term employment, and makes up 66% of all work-related visas granted. Over 277,000 work-related visas were granted in the year ending March 2022, an increase of 129% on the previous year.
UK businesses embrace hiring overseas workers
A care group in the south east of England is reaping the rewards of hiring overseas workers to address the ongoing skills gap in the social care sector and avoid soaring agency staff costs!
In the care group’s words, recruiting from overseas gives them access to a wider pool of staff and talent, and allows the care group to decrease its dependency on temporary agency staff.
If not already, People leaders should be strongly considering whether hiring international talent could be a good option for them. It’s becoming ever easier thanks to new technology and services becoming available, and can be a very sustainable way of plugging talent gaps.
Plus, as more and more UK businesses look to bring in talent from abroad, it’s important for global mobility and HR leaders to have comprehensive relocation support policies in place, to make sure what’s on offer is competitive, and to ensure the actual move process is a success!
UK rental market update
Key insights at a glance:
Minimum rental costs - Q1 2023 (source: PerchPeek):
● Average rents across the UK were up 10.8% YoY in December 2022 (with the annual increase even higher in London at 17%, and other major cities in the teens)
● The average Greater London rental property was priced at more than £2,000 in December for the second month on record
● The average single tenant now faces spending 35% of their income on rent, which according to MoneyWeek is “the highest level of rental unaffordability in over a decade”
● The number of households privately renting has more than doubled over the past two decades, to 5 million
Minimum rental costs - Q1 2023 (source: PerchPeek):
For rental cost data for other UK regions, give PerchPeek ashout here!
In the news
● “Properties are being snapped up before viewings and bidding wars now appear to be commonplace” - Time Out
● “Some would-be first-time buyers who could no longer afford the property they wanted, or who were keen to wait for calmer conditions before proceeding, may decide to stay renting for longer, which pushes up demand and rental prices” - The Guardian
With the cost of living crisis showing few signs of abating, and the chilly weather pushing our heating bills up, it’s important to keep on top of the latest updates and initiatives affecting staff.
Here’s PerchPeek’s summary of the latest cost of living updates for those in the UK:
● Water bills in England and Wales are to rise by 7.5% from April, working out to £448 per year for the average household (up by £31) - the biggest increase in almost two decades
● The Bank of England has raised the UK interest rate to 4% - a 14-year high - pushing up mortgage payments and having a negative knock-on effect on rental property availability
● Over 8 million low-income UK households already on means-tested benefits will receive additional Cost of Living Payments, starting with a payment of £301 this spring
● Utility companies have come under fire for forcing households to install prepayment meters; measures are now being taken to compensate households who’ve been affected
Top tips for helping employees cope with the rising cost of living:
● Help employees check whether they’re eligible for any state or local benefit payments
● Assist relocating staff in setting up utilities, to ensure they choose an economical tariff
● For home-hunting employees grappling with tough rental market conditions, offer flexible working options and share details of cheaper areas to live
This month we’re shining a light on home-finding in the ‘Capital of the North’ - both for relocators and their People teams. Here are our key points of interest around renting in Manchester!
Rent in Manchester has been on the rise in the last year, like most of the UK’s major cities. According to Zoopla’s latest rental market report, Manchester has seen the second highest rent increase in the UK, up 15.6% YoY. London is of course first, with rental costs up 17% YoY.
However, the average rent in Manchester is still massively cheaper than in the capital! Data from property platform Rightmove shows the average asking rent in Manchester is £1,127, a huge 50% less costly than London where the average rent has hit £2,257.
● Northern Quarter - very central, trendy, plenty of brunch spots and vintage shops
● Ancoats - up-and-coming hip neighbourhood with an eclectic food and drink scene
● New Islington - area of regeneration, plenty of new quayside developments
● Withington - popular with students, young professionals and families
● Didsbury - leafy and suburban, pricey, very safe, popular with families  
For Operations leaders scouting for office locations outside London, it’s worth considering taking a leaf out of the BBC’s book and exploring what Manchester has to offer! Cheaper rent and an overall lower cost of living are just a couple of factors that make it an attractive prospect for staff.
What’s more, if your UK-based company supports remote working, it’s a great idea to share local information and advice on cheaper areas to live, especially for new arrivals to the UK.
We hope you enjoyed this month’s update!
If you have any feedback, comments or questions about what's happening in your location, feel free to reach out via the form at the bottom of this page.
Thanks for reading, and see you next month!
a map infographic would be great
would this be something that the graphic designer turning these into a single downloadable doc could do?
please make rough template
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