Glassdoor data | These UK cities have the highest job satisfaction rates

These UK cities have the highest job satisfaction rates

Ongoing labour shortages and declining real wages have prompted growing unrest and strikes among employees. So where in the UK are workers happiest?

According to new Glassdoor analysis of over 100,000 anonymous reviews, employees in Cambridge, Brighton and Bristol are the most satisfied with their jobs.

The research, published by Glassdoor’s Economic Research team, offers unique insight into the experience of workers across the UK - and reveals the highest levels of job satisfaction are found outside the UK’s major cities and capitals.

Looking for job satisfaction? Head to smaller cities

Workers named Cambridge the number one city in the UK for overall job satisfaction, scoring it 3.91 out of 5 and well above the UK average of 3.79 in Glassdoor reviews. Seaside city Brighton placed second with a score of 3.88 followed by Bristol (3.87) and then Newcastle (3.87).

Following behind in fifth place is London with a score of 3.85, and Cardiff in tenth place scoring 3.77 - the only capital cities to make the top 10. Employees ranked the Scottish capital Edinburgh 16th (3.73) and Belfast 18th (3.69).

Other large UK cities proving less satisfying to workers include Manchester in eighth place (3.8), Birmingham in 14th place (3.73) and Glasgow in 16th place (3.7).

Of the 20 cities analysed, Liverpool scored the lowest for overall job satisfaction at 3.65 out of 5. Sheffield and Coventry placed just above with 3.66 each.

The 10 UK cities with the highest employee satisfaction, ranked out of 5:

  • Cambridge - 3.91

  • Brighton - 3.88

  • Bristol - 3.87

  • Newcastle - 3.87

  • London - 3.85

  • Leeds - 3.84

  • Nottingham - 3.81

  • Manchester - 3.8

  • Oxford - 3.8

  • Cardiff - 3.77

Company culture and values key to employee satisfaction

When leaving a review on Glassdoor, employees rate their company across seven workplace factors.* Each rating provides job seekers with authentic and otherwise hard-to-find information about a company to deepen workplace transparency.

Previous Glassdoor research found a company’s culture and values are the primary drivers of employee satisfaction; Cambridge again came out top amongst workers, scoring this workplace factor 3.89 out of 5, while Sheffield scored lowest with 3.54. Cambridge employees also ranked their city highest for career opportunities (3.67 out of 5), whereas workers in Liverpool said their city was the lowest scoring at just 3.35.

Employees in Brighton are the most satisfied with their pay and benefits packages (3.6) and Liverpool workers the least (3.3). Brighton employees also rated their city highest for senior leadership with a score of 3.6, while Coventry rated senior leadership teams lowest (3.31).

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Since the pandemic, burnout has been on the rise with mentions in Glassdoor reviews increasing every year. Workers in Brighton ranked their city top for work-life balance (3.8) while the Scottish city of Glasgow scored lowest (3.53).

Glassdoor’s 2023 workplace trends report shows that diversity and inclusion policies are increasingly important to job seekers, particularly younger workers. Newcastle scored 4.1 for D&I - much higher than the UK average of 3.89. At the other end of the list is Sheffield which scored 3.82, closely followed by Liverpool (3.82).

On average, 63% of UK workers have a positive business outlook for their company. This is highest among workers in Cambridge (69%), Brighton (67%) and London (67%) and lowest among employees in Sheffield (57%), Coventry (59%) and Milton Keynes (59%).

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Commenting on the research, Lauren Thomas, UK economist at Glassdoor said: “London is often romanticised as the city to reach the peak of your career and earning capacity, but Glassdoor’s latest analysis shows that you can find a job with a great salary and work-life balance outside of the M25. Smaller cities are winning the hearts of workers.

“With its position as the UK’s sixth best city for work-life balance, London is living up to its reputation as a pressure cooker. The capital’s amazing career opportunities and top pay are commonly cited to justify the stress, however, it seems that job seekers don’t always agree; London placed sixth for compensation and benefits - despite the highest salaries in the country. While this doesn’t necessarily mean London salaries are low, it could be a strong indicator that rising rents and house prices, the cost of living crisis and inflation are making the city unaffordable.”

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