London does have a vacuum effect on skilled workers with some travelling into the capital from as far away as York on a daily basis. Of course there are reasons for London’s gravitas, mainly more job opportunities and a higher wage but there are other cities in the UK, who admittedly cannot offer as much as London. Although no other city in the world can match the economic might of London, there are many which make for a more than adequate location. Leeds is one of those cities.
Leeds is the perfect place to move your business to or to commute to in search of work. London has so much pull namely due to its financial sector, which can offer wages three times higher than jobs in the private sector. With over 122,000 employed in banking, finance and insurance, Leeds is the largest employer outside of London in the financial sector. The industry, which is made up of more than 30 national and international banks, is worth around £2.1billion a year and is still exponentially growing. This strong financial centre is good for both employer and employee – employees will be attracted by the above-average wage whilst employers will be pleased by the highly-skilled workforce they can attract. A stronger workforce increases efficiency which helps for continuous growth.
The World Cities Research Network classes Leeds as a gamma world city – a city that links the smaller surrounding economic region to the world economy. While Cushman and Wakefield’s European Cities Monitor 2010 scored Leeds very high in numerous business fields. Of 500 European cities, Leeds office space was ranked as number one in Europe in terms of value for money, 10th in Europe and 1st in the UK for cost of staff and 17th in Europe for most qualified staff. Overall it came in as the 23rd best city in Europe. The report published by Cushman and Wakefield highlights just how much of mecca Leeds is to businesses. Attractively priced office space and an affordable workforce will entail lower costs, and it doesn’t take an economic genius to work out that lower costs will lead to a furthering of economies of scale, which result in profit maximisation.
Also, with three universities and over 250,000 students there is access to plenty of short term staff.
As a whole, Leeds has always been one of the more innovative cities in the UK. It was the first city in Britain to have full broadband and digital coverage, and as a result, nearly 33% of the UK’s internet traffic passes through the city. Unsurprisingly, information technology services have flourished in the city.
The city’s infrastructure is sound, the M1, M62 and the A1 connect the city to the north, east, south and west. Its train station is one of the 14 principle stations in the UK and it also has an airport, which is one of the fastest growing in the UK, situated on the outskirts of town.
Of the 12 largest cities in the UK, Leeds ranked fifth for quality of life, and with more money coming into the area through business and tourism, it seems likely that they could occupy fourth in the next two years.
Leeds, therefore, is the perfect place for the individual and the company. The city has enough to saturate all. For those looking for work it should be easy to stumble upon in Leeds, only London has created more jobs in the past decade. Whilst for business, the Leeds council want to be the UK’s best city by 2030; they will do this by working hand-in-hand with business, keeping office space cheap and so on and so forth, effectively cutting some of the nonsensical red tape, which so often needlessly constrains business.
There is a financial disparity between London and the rest of the UK, but Leeds, alongside Birmingham and Manchester, is going some way to closing the gap, and it shouldn’t be long until the city is ranked at Beta level.
Image by Paul Stevenson