Work in Leeds

Work in Leeds
Updated 2021-09-03 13:52

In 2021, The Sunday Times wrote about Leeds that it is one of the best places to live in the North of the UK. So, if you come across a work opportunity there, grab it! This diverse northern city in the Yorkshire region is an epicentre of both culture and economy. The Leeds economy revolves around a wide range of industries spanning many sectors (e.g., manufacturing, engineering, medical technology, research, etc.). More recently, innovative initiatives have penetrated the economy, such as companies working in fintech and data analytics. Thanks to Leeds' vibrant culture, nightlife, and various professional opportunities at all levels, the city is one of the most popular destinations for expatriates looking to find work in England. In addition, Leeds is a university city, with many international students studying at one of the city's higher education institutions. Part of the Russell Group, the University of Leeds is one of the top universities in the country.

Why Leeds is a good place for work

Leeds has a developed and diversified economy, mainly driven by the services sector, which has taken over the manufacturing industry. The city is home to many banking and financial institutions, as well as insurance companies, which are among the leading employers. Leeds has its own airport for international and regional flights. In Leeds you will also find job opportunities in airline and construction companies, real estate agencies, and head offices of multinational companies such as First Direct.

Like Manchester and Liverpool, Leeds also has a growing creative sector, with its strong presence flourishing across the city. Besides, the city is a shopping haven thanks to its impressive shopping malls and large department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton, and Marks & Spencer. Tourism also makes a significant contribution to the economy, with its airport, many hotels and other tourist attractions such as the Royal Armory Museum, the Leeds Art Gallery, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the North Opera and the Northern Ballet Theatre.

Leeds is a great place to boost your career as it offers a good standard of living, has an affordable cost of living, and is close to natural surroundings. The city has a strong sense of community despite its big population of almost 800,000 people. Besides, the city is known for its bustling nightlife and vibrant social life that takes place in the many bars and restaurants or during live music and other cultural events. In other words, Leeds guarantees a work-life balance that it's not easy to achieve in other places.

Depending on what you are looking for in a house and your working conditions, you can live in the hipster-like suburb of Chapel Allerton. The suburb is named after Chapel Allerton Park and its most characteristic features, apart from the independent cafes and boutiques, are the big Victorian houses lined along the area's streets. Horsforth is a bit more expensive than Chapel Allerton mentioned above, and it is a charming town within the City of Leeds. Horsforth has its own park as well, many quirky businesses, and a centrally located train station that connects commuters with Leeds' city centre in just 13 minutes. Suppose you are a solo professional expat who wants to live in an apartment in the city centre. In that case, you can look into former industrial sites that have been transformed into urban villages such as the Holbeck Urban Village whose Victorian red brick warehouses and factories have turned into classy apartments and offices, overlooking the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.  

If you are into art and culture, the Henry Moore Institute is a centre for studying and enjoying sculpture, as stated on the institute's website. However, if you like to focus more on the history and background of the city you will live and work in for the next months, you should visit the Leeds City Museum. It will offer you a thorough introduction to your new home! Leeds has a long tradition in films. This year's (2021) 35th Leeds International Film Festival will take place in November 2021. And if you aren't convinced yet, remember that Leeds inspired JRR Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. 

Useful links:

Henry Moore Institute

Leeds Museums & Galleries

Leeds International Film Festival

The biggest employers in Leeds

The UK's private sector growth has slowed down severely due to COVID-19. In August 2021, The Guardian reported that UK companies in the services and manufacturing sectors have seen their business activities decelerating due to staff shortages and materials' shortfalls. However, just before the outburst of the pandemic, Leeds had shown the highest rate of private sector growth in the UK. Despite the global COVID-19-generated financial struggles, the economy of Leeds has solid pre-pandemic foundations that will help the city recover satisfactorily and even outgrow its past successes.

Traditionally, the sectors that keep up Leeds' economy are manufacturing, engineering, education, research, chemicals, and finance. Recently, other sectors have made a striking appearance in Leeds' economy, such as fintech and data analytics. Some of the biggest employers in Leeds are the supermarket company ASDA, headquartered in Leeds; low-cost airline Jet2, which was founded in Leeds; HSBC-affiliated First Direct online-based retail bank with its headquarters in Leeds; Channel 4, and, last but not least, the Leeds Cancer Centre stationed in St James's University Hospital.

If you want to work in higher education, the long-standing University of Leeds, member of the Russell Group, is among the top 100 in the world and within the top 50 most international universities globally. University of Leeds staff members benefit from a 25-day annual leave and extra 15 days off for public holidays and days when the university is closed. In addition, the university encourages work-life balance, offering flexible working arrangements and generous maternity and paternity leave for new parents. Besides, the university has its own childcare centre for the children of students and staff members.

Good to know:

The now multinational retailer Marks and Spencer appeared in Leeds for the first time more than a century ago when the Jewish immigrant Michael Marks became the owner of a stall in Leeds' Kirkgate Market.


The average salary in Leeds for full-time employment is £28,137, which is reasonable compared to the much lower cost of living than in other parts of the UK.

Leeds can be an excellent choice if you have the skills that match the city's major economic sectors. Even if you don't, Leeds is a strong economic power in which finding a job will be a lot easier than smaller Northern or Southern cities. You can start by searching online or ringing recruiters and directly contacting the companies you wish to work for. It is best to carry out your job search before you even arrive in Leeds. However, having a local address can help you secure a job more quickly.


For more job opportunities in Leeds, keep an eye on's jobs in England link or post your availability on the England forum.

Useful links:

Jet2 careers

Work with First Direct

Vacancies at The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Jobs at the University of Leeds

Everyday life in Leeds

Yorkshire Dales National Park offers a great escape on a good-weathered weekend. However, one of the most wonderful things about living and working in Leeds is that you don't have to leave the city to enjoy nature and clear your mind. Leeds is home to one of the biggest city parks in Europe, Roundhay Park, with a vast area of parkland, lakes, woodland, and seasonal gardens. Besides sports activities such as tennis, golf, and fishing, you can indulge in birdwatching. Life in Leeds revolves a lot around cricket and rugby. The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is considered one of the best in the world, and the Leeds Rhinos rugby team is one of the most successful in Super League history.

Good to know:

Leeds has one of the busiest train stations outside London, with direct services to London and Edinburgh.

Useful links:

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Roundhay Park

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