Eight geotag journalists exploring your city. This week: Contrasting London.

Work another day

By Alex Bath

London is a city full of opportunities.

People move from all over the world to the capital to try and achieve something they don’t think they can do anywhere else. Actors, artists, musicians, designers; the list of careers people hope to develop in London is endless.

However, London is also one of the most expensive cities in the world. Public transport gets more expensive every year; rents have started rising again and the economic crisis has reduced spending on new jobs.

Making ends meet

“Living here is much more expensive so you need to work more just to stay afloat,” complains Hari Hickinson, 25. Hari moved to London looking for acting options, “I basically have to be in London as this is where the majority of auditions are.”

Hari works part time as a receptionist and has been trying to establish herself as an online vintage clothing reseller. “Majority of my friends work in something they don’t like, but they do to pay the bills,” she explains, adding that it is hard to “dedicate time [to her acting] as I have to earn money.”

Not every person slaving in London’s job market is trying to find a way into the creative industries though. “I would love to teach in a primary school in the future,” explains Chris Perry, 29, “but having recently bought a house in Bromley, the cost of living would have an effect on me pursuing my favoured job.”

Chris currently works for a sports technology company, which allows him a lot of travel. “I always wanted to get a job where I would gain life experience” but now “I don’t have enough time to investigate the opportunities available to me [in the teaching field].”

New wave of workers

Chris is an example of a new wave of workers in London. There is a long tradition of artists working in the service industry whilst waiting for their break, but there is a growing number of people who can’t afford to work in areas such as the public sector for the salaries do not offer enough money to live on.

“I would have struggled to get a house had I pursued a teaching career after leaving university,” says Chris.

“Going into a new profession where I would have to begin at the bottom of the ladder is also something that is pretty daunting. It could turn out to be a life changer for the good but it would mean leaving a job with a good salary to pursue something that might not materialise.”

There are government schemes to try and address this issue.

There has been an increase in apprentice schemes from a lot of companies for example. However, would-be public sector employee Perry explains that with in many public sector jobs, you are confronted with “little initial salary, that doesn’t offer much opportunity and very little assurance of job security.”

London’s citizens are a population of contrasts. Some are millionaires, some live in poverty. Some wake up every day enthused about their day at work whilst other dread every minute of their shift.

An increasing number of Londoners however are trying to move jobs, but are being held back by the cost of living in London. For Hari and Chris, their dream jobs are very different, but they face very similar problems getting into them.

Click here to learn more about young entrepreneur making the most of the opportunities the financial climate has offered him.

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