A study from business IT support provider, UK IT Service, has revealed Leeds as the ‘Work Opportunities Capital’ of the UK.

The study consisted of 10 work opportunities and business productivity data points, including key internet speed, employment, rent, business success and flexible working categories. And Leeds topped the pile, with an average normalised score of 6.34 out of 10.

Top 10 UK Cities for Work Opportunities
# City Average Score (/10)
1 Leeds 6.34
2 Kingston upon Hull 6.33
3 Salford 6.28
4 Newport 5.95
5 York 5.60
6 Cardiff 5.44
7 Liverpool 5.35
8 Cambridge 5.25
9 Exeter 5.19
10 Peterborough 5.16

This result comes as little surprise, with the Yorkshire city also recently named ‘the UK’s fastest-growing city’ – with a growing economy currently worth over £64 billion, an impressive number of ‘business scale-ups’ and billions in additional investment in the pipeline to maintain its exponential growth.

In addition to topping the overall table, Leeds also posted impressive scores in the ‘annual job growth’ (10/10) and ‘employment percentage’ (9.14/10) categories. This comes as the city’s growing economic output was reported to top that of eight European countries.

Kingston upon Hull (6.33), Salford (6.28), Newport (5.95) and York (5.60) completed the top 5 UK cities for work opportunities – with three of the top 5 cities coming from Yorkshire (Leeds, Kingston upon Hull and York).

Yorkshire’s impressive performance comes in the wake of the historic county receiving £600 million in funding, aimed at improving facilities at local colleges, boosting innovative industries and fuelling growth in apprenticeships. So, we can expect local business productivity to continue its impressive growth going forward.

However, it’s worse news for employees in Worcester (3.33), Birmingham (3.40), Dundee (3.75), Bristol (3.90) and Coventry (3.94), who make up the bottom 5 UK cities.

Bottom 10 UK Cities for Work Opportunities
# City Average Score (/10)
29 Gloucester 4.22
*30 Glasgow 4.16
*30 Newcastle upon Tyne 4.16
*31 Wolverhampton 4.01
*31 Oxford 4.01
32 Brighton and Hove 3.99
33 Portsmouth 3.96
34 Coventry 3.94
35 Bristol 3.90
36 Dundee 3.75
37 Birmingham 3.40
38 Worcester 3.33

*tied average scores

Shockingly, Birmingham features as the second-worst UK city for productivity and work opportunities, which is especially damning considering the city’s local government recently revealed a project aimed at transforming the area and supporting sustainable business growth.

However, the city’s poor scores in the ‘business births’ (0), ‘business deaths’ (0), ‘employment percentage’ (0.55) and ‘flexible working availability’ (0.56) categories see it slip to second-last in the table, offering fewer opportunities for employees to excel in their career.

Worcester finishes last in the study, posting an average normalised score of just 3.33 out of 10, plus poor individual scores for ‘mean download speed’ (0), ‘mean upload speed’ (0.43), ‘business births’ (0) and business deaths’ (0).

This comes despite Worcester County Council managing a ‘Growth Fund’, offering support worth up to £100,000 to local businesses to support growth, generate employment and strengthen the position of local businesses. Seemingly, there is still a way to go for local businesses to compete with their domestic city rivals.

View the full findings from the study here.

Vikki Durden, Head of Operations at UK IT Service, commented on the findings:

“It’s interesting to see which cities have topped the table for business productivity and work opportunities in the UK. We often think big cities like London and Birmingham are most attractive for workers, but our findings suggest they don’t necessarily offer the amenities, benefits or security desired by modern employees.

“With remote and flexible working opportunities set to continue and increase post-pandemic, employees could reap the rewards of looking for cities which offer the benefits they’re after, like affordable housing or internet speed, instead of simply following the crowd”.