Manchester's booming economy paves the way for entrepreneurs

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Manchester has played a crucial role in the UK’s economic growth since the industrial revolution. Its thriving business landscape, impressive economic forecasts and low operating costs make it a competitive location for business expansion and creation.

Economic outlook

Whilst London has always been the business capital of the UK, Manchester is leading the charge in de-centralising the UK market, boasting the fastest growing economy outside of the capital and gross value added (GVA) growth projections of 45% between 2016 and 2036. Furthermore, with operating costs up to 40% lower than London, Manchester provides the perfect environment for profitable growth, allowing margin for error when starting up a business. The abundance of FTSE 100 companies with activity in Manchester, combined with recent record highs for the index provide strong evidence that business activity will continue to grow in Manchester. Debbie O’Hanlon, EY national markets leader, elaborates: ‘The strong GVA performance both historic and projected for Manchester demonstrates that location is not a binding constraint on growth.’ Now is the time for companies to branch out of London, and with business births exceeding deaths, the northern powerhouse proves the perfect environment.


Outlook for career development

Between 2015 and 2020, the number of jobs opening up in Manchester is set to exceed opportunities in cities such as Tokyo, Berlin and Paris, with education and property both seeing rapid industry-growth. Increased opportunities for career development provide an incentive for relocation, and indeed; Manchester has a forecasted population increase of 15.1% from 2016-2036. The influx of professionals looking for exciting career opportunities has instigated the emerging start-up boom in the city. This reflects the initial attraction of the potential for accelerated career progression in Manchester, offering professionals the opportunity to join the core team of a young business and excel in a rapidly-growing and financially-rewarding landscape.


Industry focus:

Education services

The influx of families relocating to Manchester to seize these opportunities requires attention across all industries. For example, activity within the education market is forecast to continue to grow as the demand for educational professionals increases, highlighting pre-existing shortages within the industry.

Currently 10% of Manchester’s workforce are within the education sector. This is expected to increase, with education and health employment growing by 0.4% between February 2017 and 2018. This could further the shortage of management and teaching employees within the education sector. As the population grows and diversifies, experienced and knowledgeable teachers will be required to provide a high-quality education to support Manchester’s emerging status as London’s competitor not only in terms of business growth but also as a strong alternative to the capital across the board. There will be significant opportunities for high-level professionals to enhance their careers and to take on new challenges in a dynamic and rapidly-developing education sector.



Between July 2014 and July 2017, house prices in Manchester rose by 34%, outstripping the national average by 4%. The increase in employment prospects will only serve to heighten demand for housing, leading to inflation of property prices and a more active property market, both in sales and rentals. This landscape requires property professionals to manage the market, which, as a consequence of the rapid increase in activity, offers an exciting opportunity for those professionals looking to gain wider exposure in a developing market.

Architecture and design

As the northern powerhouse’s population continues to swell, the current supply of property, including flats, houses, offices and warehouses will soon be insufficient. Innovative housing solutions and corporate infrastructure will be necessary to facilitate and support the city’s exciting developments. As a consequence, for architects and project designers working in Manchester, the challenges of redesigning the city’s landscape provides a huge opportunity for career progression. Peter Gallagher, director of Colliers International, has said “demand for quality office space in Manchester stands at an all-time high, but occupiers still want somewhere quirky and unique to base themselves.” The development pipeline in Manchester is already underway, with over 10 new properties being built for every 1000 existing homes. Current projects include the recent creation of a 45,000 square-foot ‘creative hub’ office complex near Manchester’s Victoria Station, and the Great Northern Warehouse project which will see an under-used and outdated area of the city transformed into a vibrant new quarter where people can ‘live, work and play’.


To conclude…

The rising entrepreneurial culture in Manchester is reflective of a greater innovative movement in the city, making it one of the most attractive cities for relocation and professional development in the UK. With flourishing markets across all industries, Manchester has a booming economy and room for growth; even those industries with a less prominent presence in the city are seeing a rapid incline, with the increasing movement of professionals into the area simultaneously requiring and facilitating growth.


In the past year, three businesses within the Recruitment Entrepreneur group have opened offices in Manchester: Urban Connect, Clarus Education, and GKR London Property Recruitment. If you're looking for your next career move within recruitment, with the opportunity for great responsibility and progression within a boutique, but ambitious business; get in touch today.


Compiled by Charlie Williamson and Charlotte Baring at Recruitment Entrepreneur

Our sources
Manchester City Council – Economy Reports - Quarterly Economic Dashboard
Greater Manchester Forecasting Model 2017 (