The pundits may tell us the economy’s on the up and up, but when you look more closely, people who are lucky enough to have a decent job are clinging on to them. Tightly.
Ideally, we’d have it all – a home in an area that’s pleasant to live in and has good employment rates. Surely that’s not too much to ask?
Apparently, there are cities out there which will answer your prayers – and you don’t just have to fall back on London, either – a particular relief for those who wish to enter a demanding job such as teaching, in which it’s crucial that a work-life balance is maintained in order to combat the low satisfaction rates that are tarnishing the sector.
So instead of flocking to London, consider some of these jollier alternatives?
For the pleasantest work-life balance, the national spotlight shines on Hart in Hampshire, constantly flagged as being the happiest and healthiest area in the UK.
Fleet, its main town, has 80% employment (the national average is 71%), and earnings are typically a third higher than the national average, too.
Jobseekers who fancy a little more hustle and bustle should think about Bristol, which has also placed itself firmly on the employment and life satisfaction map, coming top in MoneySuperMarket’s Quality of Living Index statistics.
Not only do residents have an average employee salary that’s over a grand above the national rate, it’s also got the highest disposable income growth and a low unemployment rate, of only 8%.
One of the UK’s best cultural hubs, Bristolians enjoy a landscape of museums, restaurants, theatres and bars. It’s a good thing you get paid a little more, here – there are plenty of opportunities to live an active (and perhaps a little pricey) lifestyle.
In last year’s PricewaterhouseCoopers Good Growth For Cities report, Reading came out top-dog as another prime employment spot.
It’s not just the number of job opportunities on offer, but also the variety of them – a city of mixed interests and rich commerce, there’s something for everyone here on London’s shoulder. Reading ranks in the top 10 for the best UK places to be in nine separate categories.
If you’re craving the hearty accents and comfort-grub of the north, look to Manchester for a lower unemployment rate than many other large UK cities. Incidentally, the maudlin Smiths fans who tread Manchester’s rainy streets are also home to the highest number of millionaires outside London, so it can’t be all bad.
Leeds, too, has been recognised as an important financial centre and consistently scores highly for lifestyle satisfaction, while raw statistics also show good jobs growth in Milton Keynes, Bournemouth and Brighton, while simultaneously revealing poor employment rates in Blackpool, Hull and Gloucester.
It’s worth noting that those living in the highest employment areas report correspondingly high happiness – a thriving area gives rise to bustling facilities and an exciting culture.
So just pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and consider moving to one of the UK’s best employment cities, where – statistics suggest – you’ll find yourself not only surrounded by a wealth of opportunities, but with a high level of personal happiness.