A new study by HR and payroll software provider Ciphr has revealed which places in the UK are the best for HR professionals to live and work.

Ciphr ranked 100 major towns and cities against four key criteria that many people commonly consider when job hunting, relocating, or looking to change careers, including average earnings for HR managers, the number, and density, of medium and large employers in the area (to reflect employment opportunities), and housing affordability.

Aberdeen came out on top, by quite a margin, thanks to its high average HR manager salary of £50,450 (data compiled from Indeed, Glassdoor, and Adzuna) and high business density per capita. The number of medium and large businesses in the area with over 50 employees (which is the level at which many organisations start employing HR staff) is 17.2 per 10,000 working-age adults – well above the UK average of 12.4 per 10,000.

The city is also among one of the most economical in the UK when it comes to housing. Rental properties cost £786 a month, which is around a fifth (19%) of an average HR manager’s salary in Aberdeen, and the average property sells for £187,543 (3.7 times their income).

After Aberdeen, Northampton and London both also scored highly – taking the next two spots on Ciphr’s list of the best towns and cities in the UK for a career in HR.

Huddersfield, Slough, and Warwick were in joint fourth place, and Manchester, Bournemouth, Stockton-on-Tees, and Reading also made the top 10.

Top 10 UK towns and cities for HR professionals:
1. Aberdeen
2. Northampton
3. London
=4. Huddersfield
=4. Slough
=4. Warwick
7. Manchester
8. Bournemouth
9. Stockton-on-Tees
10. Reading

Top paying towns and cities for HR managers
While there are many different factors that influence people’s decision-making about their choice of employers and their careers – pay (particularly in a cost-of-living crisis) is likely to be a significant motivator for many job hunters.

Ciphr analysed recent salary data taken from three different job sites – Indeed, Glassdoor, and Adzuna – two months apart, to discover which towns and cities pay HR managers the most on average.

It found that HR managers in Chichester enjoy the highest average salary of £51,800, which is considerably more than the city’s average full-time salary of £30,298 (according to the ONS’ latest ’employee earnings by workplace’ figures).

The next three highest-paying cities for HR managers are Aberdeen (£50,450), London (£50,350), and Guildford (£50,300).

The top 10 UK towns and cities with the highest average salaries for HR managers are:
1. Chichester – £51,800
2. Aberdeen – £50,450
3. London – £50,350
4. Guildford – £50,300
5. Bracknell – £48,750
6. Slough – £48,100
7. Cheltenham – £47,750
8. Warwick – £46,600
9. Reading – £46,550
10. Wokingham – £45,750

Most of the towns and cities (listed above) with the highest wages for HR managers, however, are among some of the least economical places to rent or buy in the UK (comparative to average HR manager salaries). HR managers living in many of these locations can expect to spend over eight times their annual earnings to buy a property (the UK average for HR managers is 6.5 times their income).

The title for the least affordable town in Ciphr’s study belongs to Sevenoaks in Kent, where the house price to earnings ratio is over 18 times an average HR manager’s salary, and 37% of their wages goes on rent. Bath, St Albans, Winchester, and London are also among the least affordable areas for HR managers looking to buy or rent.

At the opposite end of the scale, the most affordable housing (on an average HR manager’s salary) can be found in Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, and Blackpool.

HR job hotspots
There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to HR-to-employee ratios (ie the number of HR employees for every 100 non-HR employees), as company size, budget and use of HR software, for example, all impact the number of HR roles that an organisation requires. Generally, towns and cities with higher numbers of medium and large employers usually have more HR jobs and employment opportunities for people management professionals, than those with fewer employers.

On this basis, after London (10,060), Birmingham and Leeds would appear to be HR job hotspots as they have the most medium and large businesses overall, at 725 and 720 respectively.

When the figures are adjusted for the working-age population, however, it’s Winchester that has the highest density of medium and large employers (with over 50 employees) at 19.1 per 10,000 working-age residents.

UK towns and cities with the highest density of businesses (with over 50 employees):
1. Winchester (19.1 per 10,000 working-age adults)
2. Slough (17.9)
3. Harrogate (17.8)
4. Warwick (17.3)
5. Aberdeen (17.2)
6. Milton Keynes (16.9)
7. Norwich (16.8)
8. London (16.6)
9. Exeter (16.5)
10. Northampton / West Northamptonshire (16.3)

Ciphr’s list of the best towns and cities in the UK for HR managers to live and work (the top 50 results) is available to view and search at: https://www.ciphr.com/the-best-uk-towns-and-cities-for-hr-professionals.

Ciphr is a leading UK-based provider of integrated HR, payroll, learning and recruitment solutions. Ciphr also offers off-the-shelf and bespoke eLearning content and diversity and inclusion consultancy services through its recent acquisition, Marshall E-Learning. More than 600 organisations use the group’s people management solutions globally across the public, private and non-profit sectors.

For more information, please visit www.ciphr.com.