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Is Birmingham destined to become a centre for economic growth? Or decline and become victim to a 21st-century brain drain?

A report written by ‘war for talent’-originators McKinsey, prophesies that the future economy of the world will be centred on 600 cities.  In the UK, two cities fall into this ‘City600’ criteria, London, and Birmingham.

The city state suggestion is not counter intuitive. As the McKinsey report states, ‘we live in an urban world.’ As centres of business and industry, cities have provided the majority of global GDP and economic growth for centuries now.
However, in the seventies and eighties, a new exciting new possibility arose. New technology introduced the prospect of freedom to chase quality of life away from smoky centres of population. Who knows which office you are in, when you are on a mobile phone.

In the seventies, to some fanfare based on futurism, Burma Oil confidently moved from London to Reading to be able to recruit better, and offer better lifestyles to their staff. Five years later, with less fanfare, they internally classified this as a mistake.

In all quality of life surveys of cities in the UK, London is consistently in the last position.

The Brummie media, with an eye on the optimistic outlook for Birmingham, as a possible “600” city,  lap up stories of talent quitting London for better quality of life in the ‘second city’. Are we starting to see a reverse of the trend for the best talent in the Midlands to flee south to London, for the best careers? Why do the best brains in the UK choose to live in the worst quality of life scenario to start their journey in employment?

On 18 Sept, at PEG Big Debate in the iCentrum, Aston, two panels – one from London, and one from Birmingham, along with a selected audience of influencers and decision makers from Birmingham – will discuss the following question……

“Your child has just got a first from a Russell Group university, and asks you which town to go to for the best start in their career, do you say London, or do you say Birmingham?”

We’re as much interested in your opinions as those of the panel, so let us know your thoughts in a comment, on social media or book your ticket now to come along to the event on September 18th and share your opinions with us there!