Leeds to success? Jobs in Yorkshire can pay off

It's one of the UK's fastest-growing cities and the self-proclaimed capital of the north - welcome to Leeds. As the focal point of the powerful West Yorkshire conurbation, it is a lively, bustling and cosmopolitan centre - one that continues to grow and attract inward investment. Regeneration work over the last few years has helped jobs in Yorkshire, especiallly in Leeds propel forward, as dazzling new structures have risen among the Victorian rows and listed civic landmarks and there are now multiple opportunities for working in Yorkshire as a result.

Having come to prominence as the nerve centre of the UK's woollen industry in the 17th and 18th centuries, the city's stock continues to rise. Nowadays, Leeds is considered a key centre outside of London for financial and professional services - a magnet for major firms and, by nature, the top talent. Along with Manchester, it provides a viable alternative for ambitious professionals eager to develop their career in northern England.

With strong transport links - including easy motorway access, an East Coast Main Line location, and an international airport - Leeds is an ideal place for both domestic and international trade. Phase Two of the HS2 high-speed rail project is set to further reduce journey times to London and the south-east of England, making Yorkshire an even more desirable destination for business.

Leeds highlights

  • Royal Armouries Museum - home to the National Collection of Arms and Armour
  • Arcades - grandiose shopping centres with rows of boutique outlets
  • Headingley and Elland Road - major sports venues for cricket, rugby and football
  • Harewood House - 18th century Georgian manor with acres of parkland
  • Tropical World - exotic plant and animal species in Roundhay Park

Demand for talent in Leeds

After a difficult few years during the downturn, the economy - and, in turn, jobs in Yorkshire - has rebounded strongly. The local employment market continues to improve, with demand for specialist occupations far outweighing supply in Leeds. This is resulting in talent shortages in niche areas, and giving talented professionals the opportunity to advance their careers. Salaries for professional roles in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology and administration rose on average by 2.6 per cent during 2013-14 - more than double the rate of inflation.

The improving prospects for professionals working in Leeds are helping to narrow the UK's north-south divide - both in terms of salaries and hiring. London still boasts the strongest economic performance, however; increased hiring across the UK is creating opportunities for businesses and professionals alike. Many London-based firms are expanding their operations outside the capital; bringing corporate services functions as well as commercial focus into the regions - not least the north of England.

Salaries for 2015

In accountancy and finance, business partnering is the most sought-after skill, with financial business partners expected to command between £41,600 and £49,400 in Yorkshire in 2015 - up by 4.2 per cent on last year. The same rate of pay inflation is expected for commercial finance controllers working for large Leeds companies (to £68,700 - £79,500), while those employed by SMEs should earn between £64,300 and £75,600. This is 4.1 per cent more than average salaries in 2014.

The highest rate of salary inflation for technology employees is predicted to be 5.7 per cent for chief information security officers, who should earn between £89,600 and £133,500. Leeds-based data architects should be able to command £53,000-£64,800 - 5.5 per cent more than in 2014 - while software developers are forecast to earn £28,700 - £66,200 - a rise of 5.4 per cent.

Demand for administration and office support roles continues to rise in Leeds, as employers seek entry-level people to add the capacity needed for organisational growth. Pay inflation of 4.3 per cent is expected for executive assistants (£26,200-£34,700), with senior executive assistants claiming £30,300-£43,400 (up by 3.9 per cent). Earnings for marketing assistants should rise by 3.5 per cent, to between £16,500 and £24,400.

Working in Leeds in 2015

Ed O’Connell, director of Robert Half's Executive Services Division, said the Leeds job market has returned to pre-recessionary levels, with businesses now looking to increase headcount across a number of specialisms. This is creating new opportunities for talented people seeking jobs in Yorkshire and career progression in this part of the country.

"Candidates are again receiving multiple offers and counter-offers, so companies who do not adjust their remuneration levels are finding it challenging to secure the talent they need," Mr O’Connell stated. He claimed that candidates are looking for more than just a competitive salary, with flexible working, a healthy work-life balance and other non-financial benefits required to attract the most sought-after professionals. "Businesses that delay the hiring process are finding that their preferred candidates are often accepting offers from competing organisations," Mr O’Connell added.

In summary

With employers looking to build up their teams as the economy recovers, there are various opportunities for professionals in Leeds - both in terms of new jobs throughout Yorkshire and improved contracts. Finance specialists, particularly those with niche skills, have every opportunity to advance their career in Yorkshire.

For more information on jobs in Yorkshire, get in touch with Robert Half - your recruitment agency Leeds.