Peterborough named best British city for SME jobs

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min read

Peterborough named best British city for SME jobs

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  • SME lender iwoca publishes annual ‘Top 25 Towns & Cities for SME Jobs’ ranking for 2024, revealing the best places in Britain to work for a small business
  • Peterborough tops the list for the first time, ranked using a range of criteria that jobseekers look for, including average wage, commute time, house price, job density and growth in the number of small businesses
  • Preston and Newcastle rank second and third respectively, demonstrating the strength of the North for small business job opportunities
  • Glasgow - which held the top spot for the past two years - drops out of the top 10
  • London absent from the top 25 for the third year running, while the three worst-performing towns are all in the South East

Peterborough is ranked the best city to work for a small business in Britain, according to new research compiled by iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders. 

iwoca’s ‘Top 25 Towns & Cities for SME Jobs’ list ranks areas using ONS data on average wage, commute, job density, house price and growth of the number of small businesses - all criteria that jobseekers look for in employment. The analysis reveals Peterborough, Preston and Newcastle as the top three areas to consider living in if you want to work for a small business.

Peterborough claims first place, scoring well for its short commuting time and high rate of small business growth. Peterborough residents typically spend 17 minutes travelling between work and home, compared with 40 minutes for those living in Greater London. The city also boasts the second-highest rate of SME growth in the country, with 19% more small businesses in 2023 than in 2018. This growth has seen it rise 18 places this year, from 19th to first place. 

Under an hour from tech hub Cambridge, Peterborough shares its neighbour’s innovative business spirit, but enjoys house prices half as expensive (£232,500 vs £490,250) making it appealing to those looking for work. In a boost to business in the area, Anglia Ruskin University recently opened a new Peterborough campus, with a curriculum of courses designed to equip local people with the skills needed by local employers. 

Preston and Newcastle climb the ranks to second and third place

Preston rises seven places on the Top 25 list, from ninth last year to second, boosted by a healthy availability of jobs and rising pay. Preston’s job density ratio, measuring the number of jobs available per worker, is the ninth highest in the country, at 1.11. Hourly pay has increased in the last year, rising by almost £1 to £18.41.

Newcastle moves from seventh place in 2023 to third, due to a rise in hourly pay and low house prices. Hourly pay jumped from £18.11 to £19.41 in the last year and the median house price in the city is an affordable £175,000. St Albans, by contrast, is the most expensive British city in which to own a home, with house prices averaging £625,000. 

London missing from top 25 for SME jobs

Greater London fails to feature in the top 25 list for the third time, despite traditionally being considered the most important destination for UK jobseekers. It ranks 83rd due to sky-high house prices, at a median of £530,000, and 40-minute-long commutes, despite having a high average hourly pay, at £26.31. 

The three worst-performing towns and cities on the ranking are all in the South East: Epping Forest, Tonbridge and Malling, and Lewes. Residents in all three endure daily commutes over 38 minutes, and lacklustre small business growth. 

Seema Desai, COO at iwoca, said: “SMEs are not only huge assets to our high streets - but they provide millions of opportunities for jobseekers of all levels and generations. Beyond the much-talked-about large corporations, SMEs give workers the fulfilling and diverse careers they strive for, and it’s fantastic to see these opportunities being spread across the country.” 
Words by
Mark Di-Toro

Mark is iwoca’s Director of PR & Comms and passionately champions small businesses to help them reach their full potential. In a career spanning nearly 20 years’ he's represented, built new teams and advised at high profile companies such as Glassdoor, VisitBritain and Unite the Union, before leading on comms at one of Europe's largest FinTechs, iwoca.

Article updated on:
June 20, 2024

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