Jobs in Leeds, United Kingdom
Growing Pains and Dreams of Grandeur
As the largest city in the north of England, Leeds is also known as the ‘Capital of the North.’ The economy has been growing fast and is employing more and more workers who commute to the city from nearby towns and villages. This reality is driving the city’s aspiration to become one of the world’s great metropolises.
In the Middle Ages Leeds was an agricultural trading hub for the surrounding region. Wool and flax seed dominated the trade before the Industrial Revolution, paving the way for a mechanized woollen textiles industry. Leeds did not develop as a built city. Instead, Leeds grew by absorbing surrounding villages. During the Industrial Revolution, new factories sprang up wherever businessmen and investors could find suitable locations. This facilitated industrial diversification. Still today the manufacturing sector in Leeds is larger and more diversified than in most other cities in the UK, and many small and medium-sized businesses compete successfully there.
Each neighbourhood in Leeds has its own unique history. In the 17th century Quarry Hill was outside the city boundaries and persons stricken with the plague were quarantined there. In the 18th century Quarry hill became a fashionable Georgian spa ‘and resort. In the 19th century, crowded unsanitary back-to-back workers’ quarters were constructed and disease was rife. In the 20th century, these structures were demolished and the Quarry Hill Flats were built according to the latest thinking about urban housing design. By 1978, the Flats had become a slum and the entire complex was demolished. Now Leeds’ Cultural Quarter occupies Quarry Hill, with West Yorkshire Playhouse, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Northern Ballet, Yorkshire Arts and BBC Leeds all located there.
In the post-industrial era the corporate, banking and legal sectors have been growth leaders, occupying new office space in the city centre. Increased local affluence has led to an expanding luxury goods market. In the city centre, there are several indoor and outdoor malls with high-end stores. Numerous shopping centres in outlying areas also attract business and provide jobs.
Unique Offerings for Entertainment and Pleasure
Leeds has four universities plus colleges of art, music and dance. Its student population is one of the largest in Europe, and the interests of students drive the active nightclub scene. Besides football, many Leeds fans also follow rugby and support the Leeds Rhinos. The Cultural Quarter is home to a variety of top-quality performing and visual arts. Leeds also has a rich history in film-making, and supports the Leeds International Film Festival, the Leeds Young Film Festival, and numerous independent cinemas and pop-up venues for film screenings. Walking for pleasure and fitness is a popular activity among locals.
For professional people, central flats and apartments can be had, whereas students gravitate toward large multiple-occupancy terrace houses in Headingly and Hyde Park. To the north of the city a rural area known as the Golden Triangle offers detached houses and mansions for the more affluent. Besides giving Leeds its nickname, the construction of inner city motorways in the 1970s made it easy to move around by car and get out of town to explore the rugged natural beauty of the Yorkshire countryside. There is no rapid transit system, however, and local train services still lag behind demand, so many commuters move in and out of the city by car or take local buses, with the result that roads are often gridlocked during rush hour. Despite this, the people of Leeds are generally friendly, with great affection for the city.
Leeds Facts and Figures
Diversity (Percent of population born outside the UK)
- 7% in 2001 and 11% in 2011, compared to national averages of 9% in 2001 and 13% in 2011
Structure of the Economy
- Private sector jobs as share of total jobs in 2015: 75.60% compared to 62 cities’ average of 73.51%. Of which, Knowledge-intensive business services 19.35% (Rank 5 of 62), Other services 40.84% (Rank 32 of 62), Manufacturing 6.70% (Rank 41 of 62)
- Gini coefficient of inequality in 2013: 0.41 (Rank 17 of 58)
Economic Performance in 2015
- Business innovation (net new start-ups as percent of total number of businesses): 5.86% (Rank 20 of 63)
- Employment rate: 73.3% of working age population (Rank35 of 63)
- Gross value added (GVA) per worker: £48,546 (Rank 31 of 62)
2017 Cost of Living Index for London compared to reference city (Prague): 161 compared to 226 in London and 100 in Prague
Climate (30-year averages): 152 rainy days and 1024 mm of rainfall per year; average temperature range from 5.1 C to 11.8 C
Based on comparable data on diversity and the economy compiled by Centre for Cities for the 63 largest cities and towns in the UK, cost of living data compiled by www.expatistan.com and climate data from UK Met Office.
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