For years, people have flocked to the Big Smoke to make their fortune, but London is far from the only option when it comes to climbing the career ladder. So, if you want to trade in packed tube trains and sky-high average house prices (£489,100 at last count) for a fresh start somewhere else, here are seven British cities with booming job markets you may want to consider…
BEST FOR… Tech & Digital
Bristol is a fast-growing hub of tech start-ups and digital-led businesses. It currently has the highest revenue per worker in digital tech firms in the UK and the average advertised salary for digital-tech jobs has now reached £50,663 a year.
Average house price in Bristol: £268,500
Edinburgh is the UK’s second-largest financial centre, and has a leading digital tech industry too. Last year it won the Entrepreneurial City of the Year Award, and is home to major international tech companies like Skyscanner and CodeBase.
Average house price in Edinburgh: £212,300
BEST FOR… Media & Creative
Manchester is famed for its cosmopolitan vibe and has the highest proportion of 20-34 year-olds in the UK, many of whom are students choosing to stay on after university (it has the second highest number of students in Britain). Following the BBC’s move to Manchester, ITV and Channel 4 could be next to follow suit, and the city is filled with creative agencies. It will also soon be home to new creative hub The Factory – a £110m arts centre designed to provide a “cultural counterbalance to London”.
Average house price in Manchester: £158,000
BEST FOR… Energy & Renewable Energy
With a buzzing hipster vibe to rival Shoreditch, Glasgow is an innovative city, popular with young renters. It’s also set to soon be seen as a global economic hub for the renewable energy industry. Hundreds of ‘green’ jobs have already been created, and there are countless more in the energy sector – with powerhouses like Scottish Power and SSE both based there.
Average house price in Glasgow: £119,900
Alongside scenic views, the Scottish city of Aberdeen also boasts a reputation as a specialist energy skills hub, including a world-renowned centre for undersea petroleum technology.
Average house price in Aberdeen: £179,600
BEST FOR… Manufacturing
Aberdeen is also an attractive city for those in manufacturing. In 2014, it contributed 12.4% to total GVA within the manufacturing sector. The industry also employs nearly one in ten residents of Greater Manchester, with key companies including NXP, Siemens and Holroyd.
Birmingham could be a lucrative option too – Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, has backed a £150m fund to boost manufacturing in the city.
Average house price in Birmingham: £154,400
And those in manufacturing should definitely look to Leeds. It houses the UK’s largest production sector outside of London – in 2016, it saw the highest rate of growth in private sector jobs throughout the country – and has the highest ratio of public to private sector jobs.
Average house price in Leeds: £159,400
BEST FOR… Finance & Legal
The economy in Leeds (now the second largest in the UK) is benefiting all sorts of sectors. Now dubbed the ‘Knightsbridge of the North’, Leeds has one of the biggest financial and legal centres outside of London, employing over a million people.
When it comes to banking, Manchester and Edinburgh both have thriving job markets. And Birmingham could be a good move for finance workers in the future too, as HSBC is set to relocate its British headquarters there – plus many more companies are sure to follow suit after the High Speed 2 rail service opens in 2026.