Oxford has been ranked the United Kingdoms top city for living and working according to ‘Big 4’ accountancy firm PwC and think tank Demos in their annual “Good Growth for Cities” Survey 2019”. The research polled 2000 Adults across the United Kingdom and measured each city against a variety of indicators of economic wellbeing; from job security, work-life balance, housing and infrastructure.
Oxford and runner up Reading ranked well especially for work-life balance, transport but also job opportunities and health. In the PwC report, London has experienced the largest improvement of ranking of any city since before the financial crisis, but scored poorly on the lack of affordable housing and ownership as well as longer commuting times had pushed it down the rankings. Other cities of note in the report included Southampton (3rd), Bristol (4th), Edinburgh (7th), Swindon (8th) and Leicester (10th).
At Campbell & Fletcher we know from speaking with candidates that not only the ideal job is important to them, but where they want to live is another key criteria. The world has changed and people choose now more than ever where to live, it is no longer dependent on our families, or on our schooling. We took this an opportunity to look at a few of the UK’s best cities against some of our key criteria.
Edinburgh, not only does it have a month of festivals, stunning architecture and beguiling food, but it ranks highly on housing costs, employment opportunities, education and green space – in fact green space covers some 28% of the city. Recently on top of its established Finance sector, the city has become a hive for startups due the stylish yet affordable office space available.
Named the ‘uncrowned capital of the north’, Manchester has the second fastest growing economy in the UK behind London. With 1.4million workers, the city has experienced a rapid growth in the financial and banking sectors in recent years, with nearly 1 in 10 people employed in those sectors. The new cosmopolitan culture of the city has also meant huge development in the media sector. It has become home to some of the UK’s biggest media brands and has some of the largest digital clusters in the UK. The creative and digital media sector is responsible for employing over 63,000 people. Manchester with its café culture, independent food ventures and huge variety of energetic bars and restaurants contribute to the cities great work-life balance.
Leeds is another city that proves just how much opportunity there is up north. This Yorkshire city is home to the second largest financial sector, with over 124,000 people employed in the industry, and with the picturesque Yorkshire Dales on its doorstep, Leeds offers the best of both worlds when it comes to city living.
So lets talk about some curve balls.
Slough is home to huge number of multinational tech companies including many of the boom tech giants resulting in ranking first in the UK for most career opportunities and highest pay – added to that, it has some great transport links to the rest of the UK. Other cities which ranked highly for job opportunities and pay were Gloucester and Cambridge.
How about a driverless city? Milton Keynes in 2020 will be a testbed for driverless and connected car trials, with 40 robotic pods set to operate between the train station and the city centre – you might even be passed by a Starship delivery robot when you are out walking.
How about York? Did you know it is the city with the fastest broadband – largely down to its status as the United Kingdoms “Gigabit City”, with fibre optic lines rolled out across most of the city (unlike the 3% of the rest of the country). However if you are lucky enough to live inside the historic city’s walls you won’t get the benefit, as with its pretty cobbled streets they can’t be dug up to lay the new cables. And if the most important thing to you is your Mobile Phone then how about Middlesborough where you have the best chance of getting a 4G signal, some 82.7% of the time; or if speed is your thing, then Stoke has an average 4G speed of 26.6mps. For us, we love our Coffee, and Birmingham ranks only behind London in its number of boutique coffee shops, its also one of the top few cities for joining a small start-up business.
Newcastle is one of the few English cities to boast a metro, helping to secure its spot in the five best places for transport in the UK and with a monthly travel card averaging just £50.00 it’s a great affordable way to get to and from work. And when a hard day’s work is over? Newcastle is still the place to be for winding down, thanks to over 800 bars.
We can’t forget about London though, the United Kingdoms best city when it comes to public transport. As much as we love the tranquil horse-drawn tramways on the Isle of Man, or the trams snaking around Manchester, London takes some beating. With its trains, tubes, boats, buses and even cable cars on offer to move Londoners around the capital – housing prices might be off-putting but at least you can get about.
Our team work with all our Clients and Candidates alike to find out what it important to them, we know that for 1 in 2 of our candidates, that location and work-life balance is the key overriding factor over and above pay considerations. With a talent pool of candidates across the UK, we are best positioned to fill our clients recruitment needs in the Banking and Financial services sectors.