Navigating the UK Job Market: Cities to Consider and Avoid for International Graduates


Are you an international student about to complete your master’s program in the UK and looking to secure a professional job? Choosing the right city to launch your career is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best and worst cities in the UK for job seekers, helping you make an informed decision for your future.


The Quest for Opportunities


When completing your studies in the United Kingdom, the city you choose for your career launch can significantly impact your success. Some cities offer a plethora of opportunities, while others may leave you struggling to secure any job, professional or part-time. Let’s delve into these cities, starting with the ones you should consider avoiding.


Cities to Avoid


Luton: Luton is a city known for its limited job opportunities, making it a less-than-ideal choice for international graduates seeking professional roles. Many students who studied in Luton eventually left the city due to a lack of job prospects.


Middlesbrough: While Middlesbrough boasts a low cost of living and a peaceful environment, it falls short when it comes to job opportunities. International students often have to relocate to other cities like Newcastle in search of work.


Dundee: Although Dundee offers some part-time job options, it’s not the place to look for professional positions. For a career-focused experience in the UK, it’s best to steer clear of this city.


Sunderland: Sunderland may attract international students with its affordability, but it lacks professional job opportunities. Many students in Sunderland opt to travel to cities like Newcastle in pursuit of work.


Aberdeen: Located in Scotland, Aberdeen also struggles to provide adequate job opportunities for international graduates. Many end up relocating to cities like Glasgow or Edinburgh to find the professional positions they seek.


Huddersfield: Job opportunities in Huddersfield are scarce, making it a city best avoided for international graduates. Both part-time and professional job seekers may find it challenging to secure positions.


Plymouth: Plymouth is another city where job opportunities are limited. International graduates may face difficulties when trying to secure work to support themselves.


Carlisle: Situated on the border between Scotland and England, Carlisle offers few job opportunities, mainly in support, health, and care roles. If you’re looking for professional work, it’s best to consider other cities.

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Coventry: Coventry, while a vibrant city, faces a shortage of job opportunities compared to its population. The job market here can be highly competitive, making it a challenging place for international graduates to find work.


Barking and Dagenham: Job competition in Barking and Dagenham can be intense due to limited job opportunities. Both international students and professionals might find it difficult to secure positions in this city.


The Importance of City Choice


Your choice of city can significantly influence your career prospects in the UK. While the cities mentioned above might have limitations in terms of job opportunities, they often offer lower living costs, making them appealing to students with tight budgets. If you prioritize affordability over job availability, these cities could still be viable options.



Top Cities in the UK for Lucrative Job Opportunities

Introduction: Are you on the hunt for exciting career prospects in the United Kingdom? Look no further! Recent research conducted by HR software provider Ciphr has unveiled the crème de la crème of British cities that are brimming with employment opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the most promising destinations for job seekers and career changers. We’ve taken into account factors like average earnings, salary growth, employment rates, job listings, business density, and more to bring you the ultimate list of cities that offer the best job opportunities.

  1. Milton Keynes – A Haven for Job Seekers Milton Keynes, situated in the heart of Buckinghamshire, leads the pack as the prime location for job opportunities. It boasts a high average median wage of £38,613, significantly surpassing the UK average, and a substantial salary growth of 9.4% in the past year, outpacing the national average. With a relatively low unemployment rate of 2.8%, Milton Keynes stands as a city brimming with career potential. The abundance of businesses, approximately 74.3 per 10,000 working-age adults, and a robust job market with 201 listings per 10,000 working-age adults on Indeed put this city at the forefront of employment opportunities. However, it’s important to note that housing affordability in Milton Keynes is relatively lower, with typical homes costing an average of 9.1 times earnings.
  2. Oxford – Where Opportunities Abound Oxford secures the second spot on our list, boasting the most significant employment rate growth among the 50 cities examined, with a remarkable 16.4% increase since 2021. Furthermore, it ranks third for life satisfaction and happiness and offers the fifth-highest average salary at £36,692.
  3. York – Balancing Opportunity and Satisfaction York, our third contender, claims the second-lowest unemployment rate at 2.2% and a substantial number of job listings on Indeed, with approximately 229 postings per 10,000 working-age residents. This city harmoniously blends job opportunities with quality of life.
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The Top 15 UK Cities for Job Opportunities

  1. Milton Keynes – The ultimate job hub
  2. Oxford – Leading in employment rate growth and happiness
  3. York – Combining low unemployment with abundant job listings
  4. St Albans – The city with the highest average salary and lowest unemployment rate
  5. Norwich – A city brimming with career potential
  6. Cambridge – Leading in job listings per person
  7. Colchester – Notable for substantial salary growth
  8. Aberdeen – A Scottish gem for job seekers
  9. Bristol – A thriving employment hub
  10. Coventry – A city with diverse opportunities
  11. Leeds – Offering a range of career options
  12. Canterbury – Leading in life satisfaction
  13. Gloucester – A city with a variety of employment options
  14. Doncaster – The most affordable city to live and work
  15. Wrexham – A city teeming with potential

Top-Paying Cities For individuals seeking the highest earnings in 2023, St Albans emerges as a promising choice, with an average median full-time salary 41% above the UK average at £46,551. London follows as the second-highest paying city, with an average salary of £39,391, followed by Cambridge, Milton Keynes, and Oxford.

Best Cities for Salary Growth For those eyeing inflation-beating salary growth, the top five cities read quite differently. Colchester and Chichester occupy the top two spots, with 12.9% and 12.1% growth since 2021, respectively, followed by Wrexham (11.5%), Salford (11.2%), and Portsmouth (10.7%). Notably, the average salaries in these cities closely align with the UK average of £33,000.

Best Cities for Job Seekers If you’re actively searching for job opportunities, cities like Cambridge, Exeter, and Bristol are teeming with open vacancies. According to data from Indeed, there are approximately 396 job postings in Cambridge per 10,000 working-age individuals, 373 in Exeter, and 326 in Bristol, far surpassing the UK average of 183.

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Cities with the Most Employers Business density, the number of businesses per capita, is a key indicator of strong local economic activity. Winchester boasts the highest density of businesses at 168.1, signifying an abundance of job opportunities. Chichester follows closely with 93.9 businesses per 10,000 residents, followed by Belfast, London, and St Albans. The UK average stands at 68 businesses per 10,000 working-age individuals.

Most Affordable Cities to Buy or Rent While job availability is crucial, a city’s affordability also plays a pivotal role. Doncaster, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Hull, and Bradford, located in the Midlands and North of England, offer more affordable housing options, whether you’re looking to buy or rent.

Conversely, cities like London, Oxford, Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Bristol, and Winchester are less affordable, with housing costs consuming a larger portion of the average salary.

The UK’s Happiest Cities The Office for National Statistics’ annual personal well-being survey reveals that residents of Winchester, Lancaster, and Oxford experience higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness than other cities. Canterbury and Lancaster take the lead in overall life satisfaction, while Oxford residents are reported to be the happiest.

Ciphr ranked 50 of the UK’s largest cities (in terms of total population size) across nine weighted metrics – employment rate growth, unemployment rate, business density, job listings, average salary, salary growth, life satisfaction and happiness, rental affordability, and home ownership affordability – to determine the best UK cities for job opportunities.

The full results are available at


For a detailed breakdown of the study’s results, visit Ciphr’s official page.

More than 600 organizations trust Ciphr’s integrated HR and people management solutions to effectively manage, retain, and engage staff while reducing administrative burdens on busy HR teams.



When it comes to pursuing your career as an international graduate in the UK, it’s vital to carefully consider your city of choice. While the cities listed above may not offer a wealth of job opportunities, they do have their unique advantages, particularly in terms of affordability. However, if securing a professional job is your primary goal, it’s advisable to explore cities with a more robust job market.






Originally posted 2023-10-18 11:45:49.

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