Shaking Hands

Start a company or get a job in the City? The pros and cons of each

Many people reach a point in their lives, whether that’s straight from uni or later, when they question their future.

There’s a big wide world out there – which direction will you go?

For some, the allure of the Big City lights is too tempting. For others, the opportunity to grow their own roots, doing their own thing is the only path for them.

But for some, the decision isn’t as straight cut as that. To help, we explore the pros and cons of each:

City Life


With BIG cities naturally comes BIG opportunities, certainly in comparison to smaller towns and further afield. Nationally, unemployment is at a record low, so you might not find it easy to secure the perfect role on your doorstep. City life can offer you a much better chance of securing a suitable job.

With the concentrated nature of business life in the city also comes vast networking channels – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, right? There’s potential to not only bag a job in a great company but also rub shoulders with some of the biggest and best in the industry right on your doorstep, literally.

Not only that, but statistically, salaries are significantly higher in the city; average starting salaries are way above the UK’s average earnings of £26,500. In specific industries, such as banking, bonuses can also be an eye-watering additional income. Looking to earn a packet from the get-go? You might want to start packing your bags.

For many, the social attraction of the big city is a huge draw. With so many bars, restaurants, theatres, and more within walking distance, business and social life blurs into one and you can find yourself working over a few beers, making new business contacts at the opera or playing ping pong with a CEO. In some industries, out-of-hours events are a natural part of working life – an environment where social butterflies will shine.


It’s not all shining lights though. You may be working in a great company, but you will likely find yourself at the bottom and stay there for some time. It’s unlikely you’ll walk straight into a senior position in the city, even if you have the experience, if you’re not familiar with the way the city works. This kind of low-grade work can often be uninteresting and hardly motivational for an ambitious new arrival, and how long it will last is undefinable.

Not only that, but jobs simply don’t offer the kind of security they once did, with the frequency of redundancies and company closures in recent times leaving many feeling worried. Building yourself in a junior role, only to be laid off and finding yourself at the bottom in another company is not what many people had envisaged as their big city life.

We mentioned big earning potential but – sorry to burst that bubble so quickly – the cost of living is also considerably higher than staying in your hometown, with often a lower quality of life. Having to pay thousands a month for a studio apartment not much bigger than your mum’s spare bedroom isn’t unusual, so you won’t find yourself rolling around in disposable income just yet – especially with all that socialising.

With any decision comes uncertainty. Upping sticks and moving to the big city, without friends or family, in a new home, new job, and little knowledge of where you now live except that it’s rather crowded can be quite overwhelming and lonely for anyone. Would you find yourself pining for home, questioning your decision? It’s certainly worth thinking about.

Starting your own business


Starting your own business is aspirational; exciting. You have an idea and no limitations, no controls from a management structure above you – the sky is your limit! You work your own hours, build your own processes, and you’re exposed to such a variety of areas of business. The freedom is empowering, especially if you have previously worked in a hierarchical environment. Being successful, even the quick wins, will leave you feeling exhilarated and empowered with no one to steal your glory.

Being responsible for all areas of a business will bring with it an array of personal development opportunities as you get the chance to learn and grow. No approval needed, because you’re your own boss – you decide what you learn and when. And even if you decide in the future to go back to employment, what a great set of skills you will have required along the way, making you more employable.

Lastly, it has never been a better time to start your own business. Technology makes almost anything possible, and fast. The ideas are endless, and you could soon be trading on the world stage from the comfort of your own city.

Maybe more importantly, there are invaluable support opportunities out there that could really make the difference to your business; opportunities like our own accelerator programme (which you can apply for here), where we not only offer support and guidance direct from the hands of inspirational mentors but could also help you with a grant for those up-front expenses.

You may even decide to take advantage of an apprentice or graduate placement from our partners at Durham University and New College Durham to get high-quality, hands-on support for your growing business. Who knows, you may even inspire them to become young entrepreneurs themselves!


Before you head straight off to hand in your resignation in, you should take the risks involved in starting your own company into account. We’re not going to lie, it’s hard work at the start, making it even more important to take advantage of available support. Our incubator programme can help at every stage, from testing your ideas in a risk-free environment, through to the training you’ll need as your business grows.

Unless you have taken advantage of a support programme, or a graduate, you may also find yourself with no one to turn to – no one to bounce ideas off, double-check things, even just engage in simple conversation. This can make you feel lonely and daunted by it all. It’s really important to take advantage of incubators like ours to place yourself in an environment where you can grow and thrive, alongside like-minded entrepreneurs. Don’t think you have to brave it out in your spare room with just the dog for company.

Last but not least is the money factor. The initial cost of setting up a business can be eye-watering. We’re not just talking about a new laptop or tablet, but insurance, training, equipment… the list goes on. And initially there isn’t likely to be much, if any, cash coming in either. Fortunately, we can help with this too, with a grant (depending on eligibility) and guidance on how to spend efficiently within your business.

Ultimately, starting your own business is your thing, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re interested in joining the DCI, apply to be part of our next cohort today.

Any questions? Just drop us a message and we’ll be in touch.

In the meantime, we wish you luck and success in whichever route you decide to take.

The next application deadline is Friday 6th May 2022

apply now