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28th Aug, 2023

James Reed CBE
James Reed CBE
Job Title
Chairman and CEO

Last autumn, I had the pleasure of visiting Margate in Kent for an art show. I was struck by how vibrant it was – the bustling arts scene, the lively restaurants, the culture. In my youth, Margate was the kind of place your granny might go, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it bursting with life and energy.

I was reminded of this trip while preparing this month’s Reed/Bloomberg job market report. Many of our beloved coastal towns, which enjoyed a brief post-covid staycation boost, have now been abandoned again as more people are reportedly taking holidays abroad, leading to an unseasonable decline in jobs.

In some ways, it makes sense. A return journey from London to Blackpool will put you back £110, while a budget flight from Luton to Lisbon is only £48. National travel has become outrageously expensive. But the advent of low-cost airlines, means that we’re now able to go pretty much anywhere we please, and we’re choosing to go further afield.

Throw a cost-of-living crisis into the mix and we’re left with the current economic situation: stagnant wages and high-levels of unemployment in areas that usually rely on summer tourism.

There is hope, however…

Prior to the influx of artists from London, Margate was also in danger of becoming an economic backwater. Now, less than a decade later, it’s lovingly called ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’, and it has become a year-round cultural hub where emerging artists and entrepreneurs can go to launch their careers.

Folkestone and Hastings have also managed to achieve something similar. Their secret? Carving out an attractive niche that tapped into a culture that already existed but had yet to fully blossom.

Where artists and entrepreneurs lead, others will follow. And more people will seize the opportunities these often-overlooked places have to offer. Don’t believe me? Go take a look.

Read the full report here.