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Last updated: 29 July 2022

The Most Rewarding Regions to Work in the UK in 2018

Which Are the Best Places to Work in the UK?

When you think of working in the UK, you immediately think of London; but is the capital necessarily the best place to work in the UK? We at Market Inspector analysed the main regions in the United Kingdom and put together an interactive map to help illustrate which are the most rewarding to work in and why. What do you think are the best and the worst? And how does your own region compare?

Interactive Map of the Most Rewarding Regions

These are the results from our research visualised on an interactive map, easy to navigate, and effective for you to learn new information.

If you want to know more about how we ranked the regions and what data we analysed, take a look at our methodology.

If you would like to use this map on your website, use the embed code below:

Map Legend

The regions on the map are divided in three categories, which have been assigned three different colours based on their overall ranking:

ColourScore RangeRegions
Green pin29-45South East, East of England, East Midlands, North West
Yellow Pin21-28London, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, Northern Ireland, South West
Red Pin0-20Wales, North East, Scotland

The Outcome

As you can see from the map, this is the final ranking of our analysis:

1South East
2East of England
3East Midlands
3North West
5West Midlands
6Yorkshire and The Humber
7Northern Ireland
7South West
9North East

The Highest Ranking Regions

Let's take a closer look at the regions that have ranked at the top of our list:

South East

What sets the South East apart from other regions? Well, it has very high salaries, paired with a very good average cost of living. It also has the lowest unemployment rate in all of the UK. In terms of quality of life, you might want to know that South East England is also the sunniest region in the UK with an average of 1,600 hours of sunlight every year!

East of England

East of England is the region with the most business activity per capita, even more than London. The region is also very well known for the presence of the University of Cambridge, one of the most prestigious universities in the world, which is consistently ranked as one of the top universities by every authority and has won a total of 21 awards to date.

East Midlands

East Midlands is ranked in the 3rd spot of the most rewarding regions, having the best work satisfaction score in the UK. This region is where the brilliant minds of William Shakespeare and Sir Isaac Newton come from, and in more recent times, the world-famous musician Robbie Williams.

North West

North West ties in the 3rd spot together with the East Midlands, and while it has average scores in most of our parameters, it ranks as the cheapest region in the UK. The region is also known for its beautiful landscapes and vibrant culture. However, it is one of the coldest regions and it has perhaps the most snowfall during the winter.

Unexpected Findings

These are some of the results that we found surprising:


The capital only ranked 5th in our Market Inspector ranking. As expected, it does have the best salaries, but the high living costs, anxiety, and work dissatisfaction resulted in a poor score. Interestingly enough, London didn't score for the region with most business activity per capita, as that position is claimed by the East of England. Nonetheless, London is a beautiful, busy city full of opportunities and is definitely not to be overlooked.


The Northernmost part of the UK is surprisingly at the bottom of our rankings. Although the country has good overall salaries, it has the lowest rate of work satisfaction, which resulted in the score being dragged down. It is also the region with the least business activity per capita. Nonetheless, Scotland is a country with a unique culture and landscapes that you won’t want to miss.

The Main Industries of Each Region

To be even more descriptive and to the point about the most rewarding places to work in the UK, we looked for data about the main industries by region. This chart shows the percentage of employment within the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors, in order to gain insight into the labour market of each region.

Market Inspector

We categorise the jobs into 3 categories:

The tertiary sector that include:

    • Wholesale and retail trade
    • Repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, transport and storage
    • Accommodation and food service activities
    • Information and communication
    • Financial and insurance activities
    • Real estate activities
    • Professional, scientific and technical activities
    • Administrative and support service activities
    • Public administration and defence
    • Compulsory social security
    • Education
    • Human health and social work activities
    • Arts, entertainment and recreation
    • Other service activities
    • People employed by households

The primary and secondary sectors that include:

    • Mining and quarrying
    • Manufacturing
    • Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
    • Water supply, sewerage, waste and remediation activities

The ‘other’ sector includes further jobs that are not included in the categories above.


Our research is mostly based on recent data from Office for National Statistics. We then correlated some of the most subjective variables that affect the overall feeling of satisfaction that we have in relation to work. Our research concentrated on the most lucrative regions to work in terms of overall satisfaction, rather than only income level. Of course, some of the variables have a larger impact on satisfaction than others, thus, we have created a weighting system for assigning a numerical value to each variable. A breakdown of the weighting system is as follows:

    • Average Salary per Week (scale: 1-10, where 1 is the region with the worst salary and 10 is the region with the best).
    • COICOP per Week ( scale: 1-10, where 1 is the most expensive region while 10 is the cheapest region). As maybe you are not familiar with this variable let us inform you about it: COICOP (Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose) is a globally recognised classification system used to measure spending per person. For example it includes the expenditures of rent, education, transportation fee, clothing, food and so on.
    • Work Satisfaction (scale :1-10, where 1 is the region with the less satisfied employees and 10 is the coefficient for the region with the most satisfied employees). Work satisfaction is based on survey of Office of National Statistics, that adults aged 16 and over were asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 was not at all and 10 was completely.
    • Anxiety (scale: 1-10, where 1 is the region with the most anxious residents and 10 is the region with the less).

Our secondary variables are:

    • Unemployment Rate (scale: 1-5, where 1 is the place with the highest unemployment and 5 is the place with the less).
    • Business activity (scale: 1-5, where 1 is the least active place in terms of entrepreneurship and 5 is the place that is most active). This variable comes from the difference of businesses created and the businesses that went bankrupt in a year.

Data Table

For complete transparency, we are making our research public in the interactive table below for everyone to read and learn more about the United Kingdom:


The websites consulted were:

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