Broadband Choices reveals the UK’s most job-seeker friendly locations

Poured yourself a cup of ambition? Researched the companies you're targeting? That's great. But if you're in a part of the country where broadband isn't all it might be, you're still at a real disadvantage in the job market. As our study bears out.

A speedy, reliable broadband connection is critical if you want to compete in today’s job market.

Whether you're seeking out opportunities online or conducting interviews over Skype, a broadband service that’s fit for purpose is every bit as important as a crisp, concise CV and a neatly turned covering letter.

That’s borne out by a BroadbandChoices.co.uk study that lays bare just how much of the job-seeking process now takes place online, with fewer and fewer people opting for more traditional, time-honoured methods of finding employment.

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Of the 1,342 Britons we polled, 82% used online resources and information to secure their current position, while one in seven used social media.

Online job platforms are increasingly at the forefront of job-seekers’ quest for new roles too, with 56% of respondents having a profile on the likes of LinkedIn, Monster and Reed.

However, when it comes to the sort of broadband speeds that can get you ahead when you're foraging for jobs, not all UK towns and cities are created equal. That leaves many would-be members of the workforce at a severe disadvantage.

To help those seeking work navigate their way to a new role, we’ve ranked the UK’s towns and cities for their friendliness for job-seekers.

Top of the list is manufacturing hub Crawley, followed by tech-sector hotspot Reading, home to Huawei, Symantec and Oracle.

Warrington, where the road and rail links are on a par with its robust broadband infrastructure, was third, while Luton ranked fourth.

At the wrong end of the table, inner London came in rock bottom.

Sunderland, Bradford, Southampton, where maximum ADSL speeds are a disappointing 8Mbps, and Dundee completed the bottom five.

The UK's ten most job-seeker friendly locations, according to our study:

City Number of jobs available online per unemployed person Number of unemployed people per job agency Max ADSL speed (Mbps) Overall job seeker-friendliness index
1) Crawley 2.42 34 18 90.07
2) Reading 2.31 45 16 83.81
3) Warrington 2.31 46 16 83.80
4) Luton 1.21 65 23 79.00
5) Gloucester 1.71 50 18 78.48
6) Cambridge 1.60 58 19 78.05
7) Oxford 1.47 82 19 74.01
8) Coventry 0.86 45 21 72.05
9) Portsmouth 0.58 44 21 68.16
10) Norwich 0.66 38 20 68.06

The UK's least job-seeker friendly locations:

City Number of jobs available online per unemployed person Number of unemployed people per recruitment agency Max ADSL speed (Mbps) Overall job-seeker friendliness
1) London 0.69 403 17 30.43
2) Sunderland 0.26 200 16 40.46
3) Bradford 0.79 244 15 42.34
4) Southampton 0.76 92 8 42.41
5) Dundee 0.12 256 22 44.57
6) Milton Keynes 0.82 71 8 45.18
7) Aberdeen 0.22 73 13 45.48
8) Cardiff 0.29 81 13 45.87
9) Edinburgh 0.32 80 13 46.34
10) Brighton 0.36 80 13 46.93

The study also revealed that nearly seven of out ten people use employment agencies during their job search, while 54% leaned on friends and family and 45% harnessed professional connections.

However, other, more traditional methods of finding employment have become less important, as the internet increasingly becomes the principal hunting ground.

Just 27% of respondents looked at job adverts in print publications, while job fairs and networking events were the choice for 36% of study participants.

Mark Pocock, Home Communication Expert at BroadbandChoices.co.uk, said: “Just two decades ago some of the biggest online job platforms did not even exist.

"Today, it is very hard to imagine searching for a job without the Internet as the first port of call and the most important resource of information.

“From uploading CVs and creating profiles on job websites, to conducting interviews and taking tests online, having a stable connection has become increasingly important for securing a job.

"Our study proves once again that fast and stable broadband connection is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.”

Top 48 locations ranked for job-seeker friendliness:

City Number of jobs available online per unemployed person Number of unemployed people per recruitment agency Max ADSL speed (Mbps) Overall job-seeker friendliness index
1) Crawley 2.42 34 18 90.07
2) Reading 2.31 45 16 83.81
3) Warrington 2.31 46 16 83.80
4) Luton 1.21 65 23 79.00
5) Gloucester 1.71 50 18 78.48
6) Cambridge 1.60 58 19 78.05
7) Oxford 1.47 82 19 74.01
8) Coventry 0.86 45 21 72.05
9) Portsmouth 0.58 44 21 68.16
10) Norwich 0.66 38 20 68.06
11) Manchester 1.12 69 17 66.30
12) Bristol 0.80 50 18 65.34
13) Preston 1.24 87 16 64.65
14) Worthing 0.76 70 18 62.84
15) Swindon 0.44 63 20 62.66
16) Ipswich 0.75 52 17 62.55
17) Peterborough 0.53 64 19 61.92
18) Leeds 0.61 81 19 61.56
19) Derby 0.51 87 20 61.48
20) Northampton 0.75 73 17 60.55
21) Basildon 0.70 80 17 59.32
22) Newcastle Upon Tyne 0.55 57 17 59.21
23) Liverpool 0.59 85 18 59.13
24) Stoke-on-Trent 0.39 83 19 58.21
25) Nottingham 0.50 81 18 58.09
26) Bournemouth 0.81 59 14 57.12
27) York 0.84 103 15 55.48
28) Newport 0.77 92 15 55.45
29) Southend 0.42 42 15 54.90
30) Plymouth 0.19 94 19 54.40
31) Wakefield 1.04 180 16 53.50
32) Leicester 0.38 78 16 52.99
33) Glasgow 0.26 106 18 52.40
34) Sheffield 0.36 126 18 52.04
35) Blackpool 0.41 95 16 51.97
36) Birmingham 0.31 164 19 49.78
37) Doncaster 0.45 146 16 47.97
38) Exeter 1.09 27 5 47.32
39) Brighton 0.36 80 13 46.93
40) Edinburgh 0.32 80 13 46.34
41) Cardiff 0.29 81 13 45.87
42) Aberdeen 0.22 73 13 45.48
43) Milton Keynes 0.82 71 8 45.18
44) Dundee 0.12 256 22 44.57
45) Southampton 0.76 92 8 42.41
46) Bradford 0.79 244 15 42.34
47) Sunderland 0.26 200 16 40.46
48) London (inner) 0.69 403 17 30.43

Methodology

  • The research uses the latest unemployment data per city by ONS, available here: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/.
  • To calculate number of jobs available online, the research analysed the number of available jobs on the most popular online platforms Reed and Indeed within 10-mile radius in each city on 30th May.
  • The number of recruitment centres is defined by calculating recruitment centres that show up on Google maps for a search query “CITY + recruitment agency”.
  • The research uses Ofcom data to gather the maximum available ADSL speed in the city centre area, available here: https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/broadband-coverage.