Relocation – Manchester
Manchester is proving a popular relocation option for Service leavers thanks to its employment and lifestyle opportunities.
By Gary Buswell
The Greater Manchester area economy generates an annual gross value added (GVA) amount of £62.8 billion according to recent fi gures, making it one of the major contributors to the UK’s prosperity. What’s more, it was voted the best UK city to live in by the Global Liveability Survey in both 2015 and 2016, and the seventh most exciting city in the world in 2018 according to Time Out. This, together with a reasonable cost of living, makes Manchester well worth considering if you’re looking to up sticks and make a fresh start.
Manchester has received much inward investment over the last two decades, with the MIDAS investment agency helping hundreds of businesses large and small relocate to the region. The city was famous as a manufacturing hub during the industrial era and the sector is still strong, accounting for around 12% of GVA and employing nearly 115,000 workers. Many other sectors also now thrive, including logistics due to Manchester having great transport links with the rest of the UK. Other strong sectors include:
Finance, professional and business services – now the biggest sector in the city, accounting for 25% of the economy and with nearly 230,000 employees. Big firms based here include Barclays, Co-op, HSBC and RBS.
Media, creative and digital – Manchester is the media capital of the North, receiving around £3.5bn investment in the past decade. The sector has 82,300 employees and 7,500 companies including BBC, ITV, Google, IBM, Guardian and MediaCity UK.
Health and life sciences – over 175,000 people work in this sector and more than 30 NHS organisations are based in the city. Other big employers and name brands with a strong presence in Manchester include:
- BAE Systems
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Manchester City FC
- Manchester United FC
Service-leavers with transferable skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork and problem-solving are in high demand to fill the many vacancies in the city. With tens of thousands of new start-up businesses emerging in recent years, Manchester could also be the place to be if you’re looking to set up your own enterprise.
The average pre-tax salary in Manchester currently stands at around £26,819 for full-time work, according to the Office for National Statistics. Salaries for higher level and senior positions are around £35-40k rising to more than £50k for top jobs. (The national average salary is currently £29,574.)
Lifestyle and culture
Manchester’s attraction as a place to live lies in its diverse and buzzing culture, available at affordable rates. It’s cheaper than London but certainly no less entertaining. In fact, around 68,000 people relocated from the capital to Manchester between 2013 and 2014. It’s an ethnically diverse city with around 200 languages spoken and its large student population (there are three universities in the city) ensures that things are kept lively.
Popular areas include the Northern Quarter (a trendy area with many shops, bars, coffee shops and nightclubs), the famous Curry Mile (full of takeaways and curry houses) and the Trafford Centre (a shopping complex that includes restaurants and plenty of kids entertainment). If you’re looking for something more arts related, Manchester has around 70 museums and galleries (many offering free entry) and its live music scene is famously strong. For those wanting to escape to the country, the Peak District, Lake Windermere the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales are all not too far away.
Cost of living
Manchester is an affordable place to live for a city of its size and diversity. It works out overall around 30% cheaper than London and has a score of 72.50 on the Cost of Living Index, excluding rent (with New York used as the base score of 100). The average house price is currently £201,246 overall compared to a UK average of £228,147. It’s more expensive than nearby Hulme (£175,668) but cheaper than Castlefield (£237,548) and the city centre (£216,284).
Average prices break down as:
- Semi-detached – £223,838
- Terraced – £171,148
- Flat – £171,798
- House rental – £1,160 per month
- Flat rental – £630 per month
Other average costs for Manchester include around £10 per person for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, £3-4 a pint of domestic beer and £65 for a monthly travel pass which entitles you to journeys on buses, trains and trams.
Where to live
Where to move to in Manchester depends on what you’re looking for; whether you want to be closer to the social scene, live somewhere quieter, be close to work or enjoy cheaper accommodation. Good locations for Service-leavers include:
Sale – this picturesque town in the south of Greater Manchester was voted the fourth best place to live in England in 2018. Property, which ranges from 1930s Victorian and Edwardian detached homes to terraced properties and semis, is slightly more expensive but it’s a nice family-friendly location only 20 minutes from the city centre.
Altrincham – another town in the south, Altrincham was voted second best place to live in Manchester in 2018 and has one of the best high streets in the country. Property costs are above average but several regeneration projects taking place mean that it’s a good area to relocate to for employment. It’s also less than 15 minutes from Manchester Airport.
Salford – an iconic city thanks to a few pop culture associations, Salford is one of the more affordable places to live in Manchester and is only a mile out from the city centre. Home to MediaCityUK as well as a university, it isn’t short of job opportunities.
Castlefield – if you want to be close to the social hub of Manchester, Castlefield could be just the place. Despite plenty of recent renovation, accommodation is still reasonably priced (just a shade over the average) and the environment is a mix of old and new, with Roman buildings and cobbled streets as well as modern bars and restaurants. Castlefield was made a conservation area in 1980 so the lack of traffic makes it one of the quieter places to live.
Prestwich – this quiet suburban town 15 minutes north of the city centre is a good area for families due to the number of schools available.
MIDAS inward investment agency: www.investinmanchester.com
Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership: gmlep.com