Best cities to move to for work

Whether you’ve been offered an opportunity in a new city, or simply want a change of scenery, there are lots of reasons you might choose to relocate for work. But which major cities offer the greatest job opportunities and salary potential?
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With remote working now commonplace across a swathe of industries, from teaching to tech, it’s easier than ever to move to a new city to take up a new job - or simply relocate your old one.

If you're thinking of relocating, make sure to compare mortgages before buying a new home to ensure you get the best deal.

However, your career prospects aren’t entirely divorced from where you live and not everyone can work remotely all the time.

So, when taking into account the number of jobs available and average earnings, which are the best major cities to consider relocating to?

The UK towns and cities with the most job opportunities

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1. Reading, Berkshire

Job listings on Indeed: 3,945
Listings per 100,000 people: 2,460

The place with the most job opportunities per person is Reading, where there are currently just under 2,500 job listings per 100,000 people.

Reading is one of the largest towns in the UK yet to be granted city status, and its proximity to London makes it a popular place for commuters to live.

2. Manchester, Greater Manchester

Job listings on Indeed: 13,299
Listings per 100,000 people: 2,393

Arguably the second biggest city in England, Manchester, takes second place overall for job listings. While Manchester is much bigger than Reading, the number of jobs on offer is higher still, with just under 2,400 per 100,000 people.

Manchester is a major Northern city and has seen large amounts of investment since the turn of the millennium. 

This has brought with it a large growth in the number of job opportunities as firms relocate or choose it to start up in, and attracted lots of people to the city in recent years.

3. Bristol, City of Bristol

Job listings on Indeed: 11,041
Listings per 100,000 people: 2,370

Another of the country’s major cities comes in third place, with Bristol having 2,370 job openings per 100,000 people.

Bristol’s economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries, with its city-centre docklands area being regenerated and becoming a hub for businesses.

RankCityCountyPopulationJob listings on IndeedListings per 100,000 people
2ManchesterGreater Manchester555,74113,2992,393
3BristolCity of Bristol465,86611,0412,370
7Newcastle upon TyneTyne and Wear306,8244,1801,362
9EdinburghCity of Edinburgh527,6206,4721,227
11GlasgowGlasgow City635,6407,0161,104
14BelfastCounty Antrim342,5603,5971,050
15LeedsWest Yorkshire798,7868,3751,048

The US cities with the most job opportunities

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1. Boston, Massachusetts

Job listings on Indeed: 45,150
Listings per 100,000 people: 6,682

In the US, the city that has the most current job openings per person is Boston, with 6,682 per 100,000 people.

Boston has a rich history, but it remains a very important city today. Many people move here to work in the realm of scientific research, with lots of leading colleges and universities in the wider Boston area.

The city is also considered to be a global pioneer for innovation and entrepreneurship, with a large number of startups.

2. Washington, District of Columbia

Job listings on Indeed: 42,973
Listings per 100,000 people: 6,232

In second place is the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, with over 6,200 job listings per 100,000 people.

As the home of the US government, many people move to DC to work in the public sector. It’s estimated that roughly a quarter of employees in the city work for a federal government agency.

3. Seattle, Washington

Job listings on Indeed: 42,678
Listings per 100,000 people: 5,791

The city with the third-highest proportion of job openings is Seattle, Washington, with 5,791 per 100,000 people.

Since the 1980s, Seattle has become a major technology centre, with Microsoft and Amazon both being founded here.

This boom had led to thousands moving here for work, with the population increasing by almost 50,000 during the 1990s.

RankCityStatePopulationJob listings on IndeedListings per 100,000 people
2Washington, DCDistrict of Columbia689,54542,9736,232
5Las VegasNevada641,90335,2685,494
8CharlotteNorth Carolina874,57942,5624,867
9San FranciscoCalifornia873,96539,9754,574

The best UK towns and cities to move to by industry

Best cities for job opportunities
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When we look at the opportunities across ten different industries, we once again see that Reading has the most openings in six of these industries.

Manchester was the top city for two industries, marketing and HR, having seen a big increase in people moving for work in these industries recently.

Norwich was another city that was a large concentration of jobs in a couple of industries, healthcare and nursing.

IndustryTown/cityJob listings on IndeedListings per 100,000 people
Customer serviceReading2,318417

Best cities for salaries

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When it comes to average salaries, it’s probably not surprising to see that London is the highest-earning city for four out of ten industries.

However, there were a number of industries where the highest-earning city was outside the capital.

Three of these were in Aberdeen, which is the highest-earning city for marketing, teaching and engineering, and well known for its seaport and oil industry.

IndustryTown/cityAverage salary
Customer serviceLondon£23,158

The best US cities to move to by industry

Best cities for job opportunities
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In the USA, Boston is the city with the most job listings for a number of industries, including accountancy, HR, marketing and nursing.

While Boston is a notable city historically, it remains an important one to this day, considered to be a global pioneer for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Other cities that had the most openings include Las Vegas for customer service, with many being employed by the city’s casinos and hotels.

Austin was the city with the highest number of engineering vacancies. A steady stream of graduates from the engineering programs at the University of Texas at Austin helps to fuel the local engineering sector here.

IndustryCityJob listings on IndeedListings per 100,000 people
Customer serviceLas Vegas1,755273
TeachingLas Vegas1,312204

Best cities for salaries

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When it comes to earnings in different sectors across the USA, there’s a clear geographic trend, with all of the top-earning cities being found in California.

San Jose was the top-earning city for six of these industries, with the city known for being one of the country’s most affluent.

It’s also the home of Silicon Valley, with thousands moving there to work for high tech companies such as eBay, Cisco Systems, PayPal and more.

San Francisco and Los Angeles are the other two cities that offered the best wages in certain industries. 

San Francisco is the best city for construction, engineering and healthcare, while LA came out best for marketing salaries.

IndustryCityAverage salary
AccountancySan Jose98,858
ConstructionSan Francisco86,311
Customer serviceSan Jose48,731
EngineeringSan Francisco135,374
HealthcareSan Francisco99,459
HRSan Jose84,973
ITSan Jose89,655
MarketingLos Angeles118,189
NursingSan Jose112,930
TeacherSan Jose66,332


Methodology and sources

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About James Andrews 

James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC

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