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The Award for the Best Graduate City 2021 goes to...

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You've graduated, congratulations. For some of you there might be two questions which are at the forefront of your mind. What next? Where next? What next, is full of all sorts of wonderful opportunities and exploration...the options are limited but exciting. “Where next?” is as equally exciting, go home, stay in your University town or move somewhere completely new. We need to know - in the wacky world of 2020 where is the best city to be a graduate in the UK?

We’ve researched the 22 largest cities in the UK across the following criteria in order to establish which city is best to be a new graduate in the UK.

How do we measure the best city? There's all sorts of criteria we can use but we chose to use the following:

  1. Job posting rate:
    This is simple, we’re looking at the number of jobs posted to the city in the past 12 months. The more jobs posted to a city the higher the rank we award as we assume that this location can provide more opportunities for graduates than a location with fewer graduate jobs advertised. Common sense.
  2. Average Salary:
    It’s not just about the number of jobs posted - we want those graduate jobs to be good quality. We can assess this in a fairly simple way by analysing basic salary. Employers can make promises about “On Target Earnings” (OTE) but if we strip back bonuses, target related earnings and just use basic salary we use this as a gauge for average salary levels. There is a “London Weighting” aspect to some advertised and we have taken this into consideration in our algorithm.
  3. Housing:
    The cost, quality and availability of accommodation is probably the primary consideration in relocating to any new city. In order to create a level playing field we have researched the cost of a studio (or one bed) apartment ~three miles north from the city centre. We have had to make some adjustments...for example three miles directly north of Edinburgh leaves you in the North Sea. The higher the monthly rent - the lower the best city score.
  4. Travel: 
    How much does a ~3 mile single journey cost on public transport from the city centre? The higher the cost...the lower the best city score.
  5. Entrepreneurship Dynamism: 
    We think an economically vibrant city can be characterised by the rate of company start-ups there are per 10,000 of its population. We’ve included this matrix in our algorithm. The higher the rate of start-up the higher the best company score.
  6. Environmental: 
    Environmental conditions play a significant factor. How do you measure environmental quality? There are many ways you could analyse it but at graduate-jobs.com we think that air quality is a good overall indicator as to the environmental health of the city. The lower the particles in the air the higher the best city score.
  7. Leisure: 
    How much does a pint of beer cost? The cost of a pint has been used as a gauge for regional disparity for years. If it’s good enough for everyone else it’s good enough for us!
  8. Best Graduate UK Locations 2020 - 2021
    1 Leeds
     : 3
     : 3
     : 8
     : 7
     : 9
     : 7
     : 6
    2 Liverpool
     : 11
     : 9
     : 1
     : 10
     : 5
     : 9
     : 5
    3 Edinburgh
     : 7
     : 2
     : 16
     : 5
     : 7
     : 1
     : 20
    4 Manchester
     : 2
     : 6
     : 6
     : 21
     : 3
     : 15
     : 12
    5 Sheffield
     : 14
     : 4
     : 5
     : 4
     : 19
     : 4
     : 7
    6 London
     : 1
     : 1
     : 22
     : 2
     : 1
     : 22
     : 22
    7 Leicester
     : 17
     : 10
     : 10
     : 6
     : 8
     : 11
     : 3
    8 Newcastle
     : 9
     : 15
     : 2
     : 17
     : 18
     : 5
     : 8
    9 Glasgow
     : 8
     : 12
     : 15
     : 11
     : 12
     : 3
     : 15
    10 Nottingham
     : 12
     : 14
     : 4
     : 14
     : 15
     : 6
     : 9
    11 Brighton
     : 5
     : 8
     : 21
     : 18
     : 2
     : 12
     : 18
    12 Southampton
     : 13
     : 18
     : 9
     : 3
     : 4
     : 20
     : 10
    13 Birmingham
     : 6
     : 5
     : 14
     : 22
     : 6
     : 17
     : 17
    14 Aberdeen
     : 16
     : 22
     : 12
     : 15
     : 10
     : 2
     : 1
    15 Bristol
     : 4
     : 7
     : 20
     : 12
     : 11
     : 19
     : 19
    16 Cardiff
     : 10
     : 13
     : 13
     : 20
     : 13
     : 16
     : 2
    17 Hull
     : 20
     : 21
     : 7
     : 9
     : 21
     : 8
     : 4
    18 Plymouth
     : 19
     : 20
     : 11
     : 1
     : 22
     : 10
     : 14
    19 Belfast
     : 22
     : 17
     : 3
     : 16
     : 20
     : 1
     : 16
    20 Oxford
     : 15
     : 11
     : 19
     : 13
     : 17
     : 14
     : 21
    21 Exeter
     : 18
     : 16
     : 18
     : 19
     : 14
     : 13
     : 13
    22 Norwich
     : 21
     : 19
     : 17
     : 8
     : 16
     : 18
     : 11

    Best Graduate City 2020/21 - Leeds

    Congratulations to Leeds for being awarded graduate-jobs.com's Best City to be a Graduate 2020/21. West Yorkshire's largest city was built on wool in 17th and 18th centuries, today, Leeds has become the largest legal and financial centre outside London.

    The city that gave us Cluedo (Launched by Leeds based Waddingtons Games in 1949), Marks & Spencer and the UKs largest Maypole (can be found in the picturesque village of Barwick-in-Elmet 86ft) Leeds has long been reocgised as a brilliant student destination with two excellent Universities and a vibrant night-time economy.

    The Yorkshire city didn't top any of the categories graduate-jobs.com use to establish Best Graduate City, Leeds is much more of an 'all-rounder' scoring consistently high is all areas. Leeds placed in the Top 10 for all categories with 'job posting rate' and 'average salary' being particularly strong performers. This was in part due to Leeds based IT consultancy TPP who used the service extensively in 2020. TPP's starting salary for many of their graduate roles is a whopping £45,000 which has played a large part in influencing their 'average salary' rank.

    Well done Leeds, thank you for supporting UK graduates.


    graduate-jobs.com's Best Graduate City is an annual award to find the best city in the UK to be a graduate. The award is based on seven core criteria which influence the standard of living and quality of life for recent UK graduates.

    For more information please email info@graduate-jobs.com

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