What Are the Best Cities For Jobs in the UK? (Other than London!)

Choosing the best city for a job isn't easy. Whilst London is a popular choice in the UK, it's not the only one! Read more inside.

June 20, 2023

When it comes to starting your career, choosing the best city for a job isn’t easy.

While London remains a popular choice, it’s also a very expensive one too – especially if you’re a young professional on a tight budget.

Whether you’re a freelancer, budding entrepreneur or a promising employee looking to make their mark in your industry, there are certain things to take into account.

Starting with the below.

Starting salary and the cost of living

While money isn’t the be-all and end-all of everything, it does make the world go round!

When you’re looking for the best city to work in, you need to factor in all of the financial ties.

For instance, does the average starting salary of the city cover the average rent or home price in the local area?

You’ll be surprised by how many companies don’t consider this when they put together their benefits package.

That’s why it’s vital that you do your homework and make savvy choices when you apply for a job and choose a city.

Total Jobs has a handy salary checker that enables you to find out the average salary depending on the location and career.

For living costs, take a peek at the Money Advice Service’s guide.

Although, you should definitely take a look at popular estate agent websites too, as this will be your most expensive bill coming out of your wages every month.

If you’re planning on renting, as a general rule of thumb, 30% of your pre-tax salary should go to rent.

Job opportunities

One common mistake a lot of young professionals make when they’re looking to find the best city for work is to jump at any opportunity without considering the bigger picture.

Yes, it sounds boring and I probably sound like a nagging parent – but some cities (other than London) provide more job opportunities.

You’ll start to get an idea of how good the area is by doing a quick search on LinkedIn.

If job opportunities look sparse, try another location.

You should also factor in the UK skills shortage as well.

As we pointed out in our recent post, there are certain areas in the country where you’re more likely to land a job due to an influx of opportunities.

Outside of London, the North West tops the bill with a 25.69% chance, followed by Wales (11.70%) and the West Midlands (10.76%).   

And then there’s the job titles and industries to think about.

It turns out the education industry in the South West and Yorkshire are calling out for more secondary school teachers.

While the North West and Wales are in need of more nurses.

To evolve with the digital age, Birmingham, Manchester and Reading are three of the best UK cities for tech jobs, providing leading average salaries and hosting some of the UK’s biggest tech and media companies.

Granted, if you have the experience and can successfully master the interview process, it shouldn’t matter what city or profession you go for.

But if you want to avoid the highly competitive nature of London and other major cities, there’s no harm in looking for gaps in the market to increase your odds.

Similarly, if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job, there will be thousands of people who look just as good on paper, so you’ll need to gain an edge by thinking about the skills shortage.

Growth makes a big difference

When you’re starting your career, you need to be in a city that’s bursting at the seams with opportunities to grow.

This includes networking, solid job security rates, a strong sense of economic wellbeing and high levels of entrepreneurship.

According to the “Good Growth for Cities” survey by PwC, Oxford is ranked the best city for jobs and living.

Followed by Reading, Southampton, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Swindon (in that order).

Among the top 10 improving cities for growth is Bradford and Liverpool, due to its opportunities for start-ups.

External factors

The final thing to think about is external factors such as being close to your family/friends and social life.

If you move to a dull city without the restaurants, bars, shops and people nearby, you’ll soon lose interest.

Weekends will blend in with work life and it will impact your quality of living.

These things really matter.

If you choose a city and are hundreds of miles away from your close friends and family, you’re instantly putting pressure on yourself to make new acquaintances at work.

This can be tricky to do if you’re not a natural extrovert.

Recruitment agencies matter

If you have no prior connections with top recruitment agencies, it can feel like you’re on your own when you’re applying for jobs.

At Coburg Banks, we work with candidates and make sure the role is a right fit for them before.

What’s more, our jobs also cover a lot of industries and top cities in the UK too, so you have the luxury of choice when you reach out to us.

For more information on finding the best cities for jobs in your profession, get in touch with us today and we’ll guide you through.

Otherwise, you can go straight to our job search page and find a number of opportunities waiting for you.  

Good luck!

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.

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