The top 10 UK areas for young professionals to live and work

30 October 2018 4 min. read
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While wages in the UK capital continue to outflank those in the rest of the country, the premiums which residents pay for living in London mean that young professionals still favour other areas of the UK for their quality of life. A new survey has found that while Manchester is the most popular area of all, three districts of Sheffield also outperform London on this front.

While the multicultural metropolis of London is renowned as a leading city both in the UK economy, and internationally, on the showing of recent surveys, the city has been resting on its laurels when it comes to attracting the talent of the future. The UK capital might be a global financial hub on par with the likes of New York, but its infamously high cost of living is pricing future talent out of the market.

A recent report from Grant Thornton found that structural failures are seeing London facing a Millennial exodus in the coming years, while this also saw 51% of young people elsewhere in the UK denounce the capital, and state that they have no desire to move to the city to live or work. Following on from this, despite London retaining a reputation for leading in all areas of the UK’s business scene, it is lagging when it comes to fostering new online businesses, with another study showing it is easier to set up such a venture in Sheffield and Nottingham in particular.

Top 10 UK areas for young professionals for living, networking & working

Now, analysis by sourced from data by Payscale and ideal flatmate shows that young professionals across the UK are increasingly favouring a number of other areas in Britain when it comes to building a life and a career. The researchers asked 1,000 participants across the UK to rate their local area on various different aspects, one of these factors was suitability for young professionals. The resulting index produced made up of 222 UK boroughs then revealed the best places for young professionals to live and work.

While London did factor in the top 10, boasting an average salary of more than £35,000 – which is roughly £7,000 higher than the national average at time of writing – it only managed to tie for seventh place, scoring a 5.2 approval rating among young professionals. Not only did this see London struggle to match the pull of Newcastle’s South Jesmond area – which Payscale found commands an average salary packet £10,000 lighter than the London figure – but it saw the city surpassed by three separate locations in Sheffield.

The Steel City saw Ecclesall (5.3), Fulwood (5.4) and Dore & Totley (5.9) score high in terms of approval from young professionals. Sheffield – which also topped a UK ranking of the best places to establish an online business earlier in 2018 – has seen a large influx of businesses into the region in recent months, something which is no doubt improving its image in the eyes of young professionals across the UK. The first half of 2017 alone saw 35 firms relocate or move into Sheffield, almost as much as for the whole of the previous year. The exponential growth, on the back of various investments into office space by local authorities, continued through the year – seeing the arrival of Capgemini among others – and well into 2018.

Topping the rankings on this occasion, however, was the city of Manchester. With the average salary standing at £26,399, and a growing technology culture, as well as a local airport and an infamously wild nightlife scene, Manchester has made the most of its Northern Charm to become a major draw for up-and-coming talent. 

Commenting on the ranking, Tom Gatzen from ideal flatmate said, “It’s fantastic to see Manchester voted as the best place for young professionals in the UK. The press often associates any major UK investments with London, but with a thriving economy in the north of England and cheaper living rates, it’s no wonder people are look to invest their time and money in these areas.”