Work in Bristol

Work in Bristol
Updated 2021-10-05 14:55

Bristol is the largest city in the southwest of England and the eighth largest in the UK, with a multi-ethnic population of about 450,000. Hence, the city has a lot to offer to expat professionals settling here with the aspiration to develop their careers while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The industries that thrive in Bristol's labour market are the creative industry (Bristol is the home of Banksy street artist and activist, after all), manufacturing, and tech. Among the city's many advantages is that it is pretty close  — a 90-minute train ride — to London, as well as Cardiff in Wales. So, if you are looking for a more affordable and less crowded than London place to live and work in the UK, Bristol might be for you!   

Why Bristol is a good place for work 

What makes a real difference when budgeting your life in Bristol compared to London is the cost of accommodation, which is significantly less in Bristol. According to the Numbeo global database, in Bristol you need about £3,364.07 per month for the same kind of lifestyle that will cost you  £1,500 more in London. In 2020, the average salary in Bristol was £39,000, which is above the national average (£38,600). On top of that, in Bristol, you will have more time for yourself, leisure activities, and family moments since commuting in Bristol is faster and easier due to the city's size and population. Besides, Bristol has one prime centre and not many hubs dotted around the city like London has. 

Working and living in Bristol means that you can enjoy the coast and countryside either on foot or through the many cycle trails on the weekends. Some of the natural highlights that are easily accessible from Bristol are the Cotswolds rolling hills, the coastlines of Cornwall and Devon, and scenic Wales. Suppose you prefer to stay amid the city's hustle and bustle. In that case, Bristol is renowned for its culinary scene, bustling nightlife, independent shops, and unique festivals such as the Bristol International (hot air) Balloon Fiesta, Bristol Harbour Festival, and Upfest, Europe's largest street art and graffiti festival. 

Good to know:

Cameron Balloons is a Bristol-based manufacturer of hot-air balloons. Worth checking the company out for job opportunities in manufacturing and engineering. 

Useful links: 

Bristol Harbour Festival 


Cameron Balloons

The economy of Bristol

Bristol has one of the most robust economies in the UK and is particularly very active in the cultural and educational sectors. Bristol is home to one of the country's most important ports, a vital economic hub of regional and international maritime trade. You will also find many alcohol factories (especially cider), auto parts manufacturers and car import companies across the city. Besides, many national and international firms, banks, and financial institutions have their offices in Bristol. 

Tourism in Bristol is booming, not only because the city itself has a lot to offer for all types of travellers but also thanks to the neighbouring regions of Somerset and Gloucestershire. Many British and international tourists flock to Bristol all year round to enjoy the scenery, warm weather, architecture, and cultural activities. The city has a strong education sector, largely thanks to its reputation as a student city. Bristol is home to three universities, including the University of Bristol, attracting large numbers of UK and international students. The media, electronics and aviation, and trade are other sectors that significantly contribute to the city's GDP. Information and communication technology are also vital for Bristol's economy.

Bristol's biggest employers

Bristol's employment rate is slightly higher than the national average, which is 75.7%. According to the UK government's latest statistics on Bristol, in September 2020, Bristol's employment was 75.8%, which translates to 249,400 employed working-age residents. Also, Bristol's employers offer about half of the jobs available in the whole West of England. Of course, the city's vibrant economy and sustainable economic growth have not been left unaffected by the impact of COVID-19. Yet, thanks to the solid foundations, Bristol may recover from the shock of the pandemic with a relatively unharmed labour market.

Back in the day, the city's economy was based on sea trade and shipping. However, nowadays, Bristol boasts a thriving creative industry, tech job opportunities, and innovation in the aerospace sector. San-Francisco-based Strava, a global online community for athletes and active people, has its European offices in Bristol, thereby being a significant employer in the city in the tech and creative industry. Also, Bristol Temple Quarter is a vast redevelopment project focusing on housing, ecological infrastructure, education, and the modern workforce. In fact, the new zone aspires to host businesses in the tech, digital, and creative sectors that will open over 22,000 new jobs in the next few years. 

The University of Bristol is a key player in Bristol's labour market, absorbing an existing and creating a new workforce at the same time. The university offers a supportive working environment with relocation packages covering relocation costs for staff members who must relocate to take up their role with the university. Besides, the university offers competitive salaries, staff discounts, pension schemes, and training opportunities. Last but not least, the University of Bristol takes employees' wellbeing and mental health seriously and monitors employees' work-life balance, ensuring flexible working, family leaves, reasonable working hours, and an inclusive and community-inspired working environment.

Good to know:

Airbus, Europe's multinational aerospace corporation and the world's second-biggest aerospace company, has its offices in Bristol. 

Good to know:

Bristol's financial sector (i.e. banking, insurance, legal services, etc.) is the third-largest in the UK, employing about 59,000 people. One of the biggest employers in Bristol in the financial sector is Lloyds Banking Group and AXA multinational insurance firm.  

Useful links: 


Bristol Temple Quarter

University of Bristol jobs

Airbus Bristol jobs

Lloyds Bristol vacancies 

AXA Bristol

Everyday life in Bristol 

Bristol has two train stations: Bristol Temple Meads railway station serving the city centre and Bristol Parkway on the South Wales Main Line in the northern suburbs of Bristol. Rural Somerset and South Gloucestershire are easily accessible, meaning that one can live there to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle and commute to work in busier Bristol. On the weekends, you can even cycle to the historic city of Bath along the scenic Railway Path. Swimming is an excellent stress reliever. Bristol has a publicly accessible lido worth visiting. 

As mentioned above, Bristol has a great community feel. People in Bristol are keen on volunteering their free time and skills. In fact, 47% of residents volunteer at least three times a year to help out in their community. If you wish to give back to the community, you can check out Bristol's Second Step mental health charity. 

Good to know:

Bristol has its local currency, the Bristol Pay (former Bristol Pound).

Useful links: 

Railway Path

Bristol lido 

Second Step jobs

Bristol Pay

Finding a job in Bristol

Qualified professionals holding valid visas are usually hired in various sectors in Bristol. You must, however, make sure you have a good level of English, regardless of the type of job you are applying for. Some positions may require excellent written and spoken English, while others only need good oral English. The key to landing a job in Briston is to be proactive, searching online and directly contacting the companies you wish to work for. If you are a non-UK citizen, you must obtain a certificate of sponsorship. You can carry out your job search before you even arrive in Bristol, but a local address will help you secure a job quickly.


Check regularly's jobs in England link and don't hesitate to post your availability or discuss labour market topics in the England forum

Useful links: 



Bristol Post list of recruiters

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