Posted by Robert Half on 16 November 2015
Manchester is already a globally famous city, thanks to institutions such as Manchester United and Coronation Street. But the city was in the international spotlight recently for quite different reasons when it hosted China's president Xi Jinping.
This was a critically important state visit, as the government has made no secret of its desire to foster stronger links between the UK and China. Manchester, therefore, was not simply picked out of a hat when it was deciding which places would show the UK in the best light. It was chosen because Manchester showcases the very best of British - a spirit of innovation that dates from the Industrial Revolution to today's groundbreaking graphene research, along with the resources and infrastructure that enable it to compete with mega-cities across the globe.
As Sir Howard Bernstein, leader of Manchester City Council, recently wrote in the Manchester Evening News, the international investment and business community is becoming "increasingly interested in Manchester and the north of England as it wakes up to this potential".
More powers for Manchester
The government is also keen to maximise Manchester's potential by devolving powers to the city and giving it its own directly elected mayor, with powers over housing, planning, transport and policing.
This means Manchester will boast what the government describes as a "powerful devolved administration with strong political leadership that can drive through policy to stimulate economic growth and plan strategically".
No wonder most senior finance executives in businesses operating in the north are looking at increasing headcounts on a large scale, as well as feeling confident about the prospects for both their firms and the wider economy over the next year. In recent Robert Half research, 88% of businesses in Manchester stated they were confident in the business prospects for the coming year.
Of course, a number of challenges currently face businesses in Manchester. For instance, major upgrades are being carried out on its transport infrastructure, such as the Metrolink tram network, at the moment. Furthermore, the influx of new business requirements such as Shared Service Centres will place a premium on skilled staff.
Businesses are ramping up their hiring and expanding their teams so the demand and supply imbalance is rising starting pay levels and businesses compete for skilled candidates. In the newly released Robert Half 2016 Salary Guide, the average salary increases projected for professional roles is 3%.
Finance professionals are increasingly recognising the fact that a viable alternative with extensive career opportunities – particularly in management roles – is on offer in Manchester.
The professional opportunities on offer are neatly counterpointed by many other attractive lifestyle benefits, beyond the aforementioned housing and living costs. Manchester boasts an excellent and expanding transport infrastructure which provides great connectivity with both domestic and international locations.
Finance professionals are also being tempted by the leisure opportunities on offer. For instance, they can explore the shops, watch two prominent Premier League football teams, go to gigs by major acts and eat at an impressive selection of restaurants.
And with the north being such a closely connected region - Liverpool and Leeds are less than an hour away from Manchester - people all over the north-west are seeing opportunities to grow their careers with some of the biggest and fastest-growing firms in the UK.
There are exciting opportunities in Manchester for professionals available now. Get in touch with one of our consultants to see what opportunities may be suited to your skills and experience.