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HR software provider Ciphr looked at 50 UK cities to find out the top 15 cities offering the best job opportunities. Researchers compared multiple factors such as average earnings, recent salary growth, employment rate changes, unemployment rate, number of job listings, and the number of small and medium-sized businesses to identify the top 15 cities for job hunters. The study also took into consideration the local population’s general level of well-being, affordability and the city’s cost of living.
The city ranked the highest overall for job opportunities was Milton Keynes, with Oxford, York, St Albans, and Norwich also making the top 10.
Milton Keynes, in Buckinghamshire, scored consistently well across multiple criteria, boasting a high average median wage of £38,613.
The county’s average full-time salary is 17 percent above the UK average of £33,000, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
It has also enjoyed a significant 9.4 percent salary growth over the last 12 months compared to the UK average of 1.3 percent.
Milton Keynes also has a relatively low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, compared to the UK average of 3.7 percent.
The number of SMEs based in Milton Keynes with over 10 employees is around 74.3 per 10,000 working-age adults.
Meanwhile, the number of job listings on Indeed currently stands at 201 per 10,000 working-age adults – the UK averages are 68 and 183 per 10,000 respectively.
The city is less competitive in terms of housing affordability though, as typical homes cost an average of 9.1 times earnings and the average rental property will eat up around 32 percent of someone’s gross pay.
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Based on Ciphr’s study, the top 15 UK cities for job opportunities are:
- Milton Keynes (#1 for job opportunities)
- Oxford (#1 for employment rate growth and happiness)
- St Albans (#1 for highest average salary and lowest unemployment rate)
- Cambridge (#1 for job listings per person)
- Colchester (#1 for salary growth)
- Canterbury (#1 for life satisfaction)
- Doncaster (#1 for housing affordability)
These are the top paying UK cities in 2023:
For workers looking for the highest earnings potential in 2023, then St Albans may be a good choice – as its average median full-time salary is 41 percent above the UK average at £46,551.
The next highest-paying city is London, with an average salary of £39,391, followed by Cambridge, Milton Keynes, and Oxford.
When it comes to the best cities for inflation-beating salary growth, however, then the top five reads very differently. Colchester and Chichester take the top two spots, with 12.9 and 12.1 percent growth since 2021 respectively, followed by Wrexham (11.5 percent), Salford (11.2 percent), and Portsmouth (10.7 percent).
The most affordable UK cities to buy or rent:
The cities that have more affordable housing costs, whether people are looking to buy or rent, are in the midlands or north of England – in Doncaster, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Hull, and Bradford.
At the other end of the scale, housing is the least affordable in London, Oxford, Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Bristol and Winchester.
The best city for renters is Hull, as the average rent is around 20 percent of the average salary – leaving 80 percent for other expenses. The most expensive is Edinburgh, where the rent-to-income ratio is 46 percent.
For home buyers, the most attractive city is Belfast, where the average property of £156,161 is 5.2 times the average income. In comparison, people living in London will need 18.9 times the average salary to buy the average property priced at £743,738.
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