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Cambridge becomes easiest city to find a job, research reveals

Oxford and Cambridge have overtaken Swindon to become the top cities in the UK to find a job, according to the latest research from Adzuna.

In Cambridge, 25x more jobs are being advertised than there are jobseekers looking for positions, with the ratio of jobseekers to vacancies falling to 0.04 in February 2019, the best odds for jobseekers across all UK cities. This also represents the lowest competition rate recorded since Adzuna began monitoring the data seven years ago.

Not to be outdone, Oxford is just behind with 20 jobs per jobseeker (0.05 jobseekers per vacancy), the second-best rate in the UK. This is the first time that the two famous university cities have overtaken Swindon (0.051) as the easiest place to find a job. Competition levels across all three southern cities are substantially beneath the UK average of 0.26 jobseekers per vacancy.

Perhaps as a result of the tough hiring conditions for employers, jobseekers in these locations can also expect better pay. Advertised salaries in Cambridge averaged £38,387 in February, Oxford opportunities offered £36,177 and Swindon roles advertised £41,454, all significantly above the UK average of £35,058.

Cambridge leads the way in terms of total opportunities for jobseekers offering 9,530 vacancies in February, nearly double Oxford’s 4,886. Meanwhile, Swindon saw 4,476 roles on offer.

The IT sector is leading the jobs boom in both Oxford and Cambridge, according to the data. There are currently 1,320 IT vacancies advertised in growing tech-hub Cambridge, with two of the city’s top five employers falling within this field: IoT firm ARM (182 vacancies) and video game developer Jagex (73 vacancies). Oxford currently has 678 advertised IT vacancies, including with game developer Rebellion (28 vacancies).

Both cities also have strong expertise in engineering, trade & construction and healthcare & nursing, with other top employers including biomedical engineers AstraZeneca (67 vacancies) in Cambridge and biopharmaceutical company Oxford BioMedica (61 vacancies) in Oxford.

At the bottom of the league, Hull is the hardest place to find work with 2.73 jobseekers fighting it out over every vacancy. Jobseekers in Hull can also expect lower pay rates hand-in-hand with this increased competition. Advertised salaries averaged £29,848 in February, meaning jobseekers are paid on average £8,500 less than in Cambridge.

Sunderland (2.13), Middlesbrough (1.68), Bradford (1.34) and Salford (1.31) complete the top 5 hardest cities to find a job in the UK; notably all in the Midlands and North, suggesting a North-South divide in jobseeker competition.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, commented, “Choosing where to start your job search can have a huge impact on both how easy it is to get a job and your potential pay-packet. The sizeable salaries on offer in Cambridge are £8.5k larger than in Hull. In fact, all of the top 5 cities to find a job currently sit in the South, with cities like Hull and Sunderland continuing to play catch-up with their Southern counterparts. And with up to 25x more jobs on offer than people to fill them, jobhunters in these top areas are in a great position to negotiate on pay, perks and holiday packages - something for the Class of 2019 to bear in mind after graduation.

“Drilling into the detail, innovation and new technologies are driving this divide in jobseeker competition. The last few years have seen an explosion of tech jobs created in cities like Cambridge and Oxford, as well as steady growth along the M4 corridor in tech stalwarts Swindon and Reading. The general trend is one of improvement across the whole of the UK, with employment levels at record highs, it’s just that cities like Cambridge and Oxford have grown at a far faster rate than the rest.”

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