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The 10 best UK cities for work-life balance

Published: Tuesday 16th April 2019

Research from CV-Library has revealed that 97.9% of Brits believe that work-life balance is important when looking for a new job, but other surveys show that’s not just down to who you work for, but where you live. Clearly, this is something candidates should take into account if they’re intending to make a job switch.

Person displaying work life balance ornament

Where should you be working?

In order of ranking, the survey found these to be the ten best cities for work-life balance:

Glasgow (77.8%) – Growth in new businesses and jobs, along with a focus on maintaining a good work-life balance have been the key drivers of growth in Scotland’s largest cities since the last financial crisis, so it should come as little surprise to see Glasgow take the top spot here.

Nottingham (71.1%) – As a city with two leading, research-focused universities, there are a lot of students in Nottingham. As a result, there’s also great nightlife. With a good local transport system, the city ranked high in The Independent’s Best Places to Make a Living in the UK survey.

Sheffield (70.6%) – In recent years, the creative and digital industries have boomed in Sheffield, yet it still has a low cost of living with a median monthly take-home salary of £1,700 more than able to sustain an average monthly mortgage repayment of £619.

Liverpool (66.7%) – Liverpool is another major centre with relatively lower living costs than others in the UK. It’s also known for its exceptionally friendly people. The city may be smaller than the likes of Manchester and Leeds but the main business quarter is attractive, easy to get to, and plays host to wide range of big companies.

Bristol (65.9%) – An attractive destination for those looking to work in creative media, electronics and aerospace, Bristol was named ‘coolest city in Europe’ by National Geographic.

Woman working in the creative jobs sector receiving help from colleague

Southampton (63.8%) – Plenty of green spaces, along with an intriguing history and rich heritage make Southampton an appealing destination. While London is just an hour away, some of the best countryside in the UK is just minutes away from your front door.

London (63.8%) – Stats show that Londoners actually work less hours than the national average at 38.7 hours, compared to a national average of 39.1. Add in a great public transport system, if you’re in a high income niche, then London might be the ideal destination for your job search.

Leeds (63%) – The second largest metropolitan district in England was awarded the accolade of the Best City in England to Live In by the Money Supermarket Quality of Living survey in 2015 and is now hosts one of the largest business centres in the UK.

Cardiff (62.5%) – The capital city of Wales is big enough to have plenty of work opportunities, especially in its growing digital economy, however it’s still small enough to maintain a real sense of community. With excellent transport links, plenty of unique shops, bars and restaurants, as well as home to sports events of all kinds, Cardiff has a lot going for it.

Manchester (54.9%) – Besides the great nightlife, Manchester is where graduates have the most job opportunities and also report a good work-life balance. Indeed, with 6.47 jobs per 1000 inhabitants, finding a grad job shouldn’t be too difficult.

A woman who works in one of the top cities showing the difference of her work and outside of work lifestyle

The survey highlighted that workers that had the worst work-life balance suffered burnout and left their employers earlier than those with a good-work-life balance. The message that recruiters and employers should take away from this is that implementing good work-life balance policies, such as flexible working is becoming more and more important – if companies want to hire and retain the best talent.

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