Banker finance job

Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds offer top finance job prospects

For those who don’t want to join the London rat race, the opportunities for finance careers in England’s regional cities can offer a more appealing proposition.

The finance sector has historically been dominated by the capital city, with the preconception that graduates must move to London after university to pursue their careers. Yet as more major companies continue to ‘north-shore’, enhanced employment prospects are increasing the appeal of the regions.

New research by UK trading company CMC Markets has revealed the top banker-friendly locations outside London, with both towns and cities across the UK enticing growing numbers of professionals in the finance sector. 

It is a trend that will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect for additional growth and regeneration in these locations as the level of affluence increases, and indeed has already begun to have an impact in many cities. 

From a property investment perspective, an increase in finance enterprises and employees is only going to have a positive influence on the housing markets in these areas.

Banking on Birmingham

When taking the whole of the UK into account, the top location for opportunities in finance jobs is Edinburgh, according to CMC Markets. The Scottish city currently boasts 310 financial institutions, among a population of 527,620.

Honing in on England, the West Midlands city of Birmingham came out top for those looking to progress their careers in banking. With the second largest population in the country of 1.1 million, the city has 265 finance companies. 

At present, the firms are mid-sized, with none employing more than 250 people. But there are some big names based there, including HSBC and Deutsche Bank.

Interestingly, the nearby Solihull area, which is currently attracting swathes of investment thanks to the upcoming arrival of HS2, also receives a mention in the report due to the number of companies there that are classed as medium (up to 249 employees) or large (over 250 workers), in comparison with the population of the area.

North for finance

Next on the list for financial institutions and career opportunities is Manchester, a city already well-known for offering a bustling, exciting and varied lifestyle alternative to the capital – not to mention better value for money.

It has the same number of banking firms as Birmingham at 265, serving a much smaller population of 552,000. Graduates and professionals are attracted to the city centre thanks to major regeneration and new housing developments, including the rise of build-to-rent in particular attracting more affluent individuals.

Just outside Manchester, neighbouring Trafford also appears in CMC’s top 10 list at number nine. The area has a population of 235,100, but a relatively high number of financial institutions at 130. 

The Manchester commuter town of Stockport, which is becoming a popular investment hub in its own right, also receives an honourable mention in the report due to the number of medium and large financial institutions based there. 

Another beacon of the north that takes fourth position on the list is the Yorkshire city of Leeds. Across its population of 812,000, the city has an impressive 240 finance companies, making it a hugely popular destination for job-hunters.

An alternative lifestyle

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets commented on the findings: “We were pleased to find out that these finance-friendly places are not necessarily the most populous cities in the UK.

“London is extremely competitive and the lifestyle is not everyone’s cup of tea, so it is refreshing to know where the best places to pursue a career in finance are that are way off the beaten path.

“Take Elmbridge and the district of Windsor and Maidenhead, for instance. They are both home to a significantly larger proportion of high earners, creating a striking demand for financial services, compared to other places in the UK.

“Their proximity to London makes them ideal for financial advisors looking to offer a more curated yet competitive approach.”

Self-certified Sophisticated Investor

Please read

I declare that I am a self-certified sophisticated investor for the purposes of the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. I understand that this means:

I am a self-certified sophisticated investor because at least one of the following applies:

I accept that the investments to which the promotions will relate may expose me to a significant risk of losing all of the money or other property invested. I am aware that it is open to me seek advice from someone who specialises in advising on non-mainstream pooled investments.

High Net Worth Investor

Please read

I make this statement so that I can receive promotional communications which are exempt from the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. The exemption relates to certified high net worth investors and I declare that I qualify as such because at least one of the following applies to me:



Sign-up for first access to new developments and exclusive property investment opportunities.

We send limited and targeted emails on new launches and exclusive deals which best fit your areas. We are trusted by over 30,000 active buyers as their source for new stock.

  • New property developments
  • Professional market reports
  • Property deal alerts
  • Development updates
UK holiday let


Receive trending news straight to your inbox and stay up to date on all of the property market trends and advice.

Established since 2005 we are a leading voice of authority and commentary on the UK property market. Our news is trusted by Apple News & Google News.

  • UK housing market
  • Mortgage & money
  • Buy-to-let landlords
  • Guides & advice

Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today:


+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT


+852 6699 9008

Open from 9am-6pm HKT