Fintech iwoca Releases Report Highlighting Best UK Cities for Workers Employed By Small Businesses

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 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 neighbor’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 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.”

‍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.”

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