The so-called ‘brain drain’ to the capital looks to be slowing, with so-called millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – happy to work for a small firm, wherever they are located, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Not all about LondonThe survey found that relocating to London is not on the agenda for half (51%) of millennials, who would be happy to move anywhere for the right job. Over a third (35%) don’t want to move away from home, while less than a tenth (8%) insist they will only work in the capital - good news for SMEs located outside of London.

In fact, location ranked seventh on the list of factors that would attract millennials to a business. Number one was salary (49%), followed by flexible hours (35%), career development opportunities (35%), training opportunities (28%), benefits package (25%) and option to work from home (22%).

While almost half (46%) of millennials said they would rather work for a large business, SMEs can take heart from the fact that 41% would rather work at a small firm and 13% had no preference.

Of those who would rather work for an SME, 85% said they think a smaller business is better placed than a larger one to offer them the working conditions they want.

A flexible future

It is estimated that millennials will account for more than half of the global workforce by 2020 and will shape the workplaces of tomorrow, a change that SMEs recognise. Almost nine in ten (86%) said the future growth of their business relies on their ability to recruit millennial talent.

SMEs are banking on policies such as flexible working hours (51%), the option to work from home (28%) and regular training (24%) to recruit millennials.

That tallies well with what millennials said most interested them when looking for a job: flexible working hours (35%), regular training (28%) and the option to work from home (22%).

Gareth Oakley, managing director, SME Banking, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Our research shows that the vaunted ‘brain drain’ to the capital – where the brightest young minds abandon their home towns to seek opportunities in London – isn’t as evident as previously thought.

“Millennials no longer see SMEs as being the poor relation of international corporations. Instead they value their entrepreneurial culture, which they see as being supportive, creative, and full of opportunity to take on responsibility.

“SMEs may need to invest and be willing to change their working practices to remain attractive, which can seem daunting, but they don’t need to go it alone. They should speak to their bank or a local mentoring network for guidance on attracting and investing in the young talent they need to successfully grow their business.”