Moving to Manchester from the US
More than just a hub for sport, Manchester is one of the largest cities in the UK and Greater Manchester has the second largest population of any area in the UK. It is a hotbed of industry with one of the highest growth rates of any cities in the UK – a full 1.8% above the national city average of 2%.
It has the third largest banking and finance industry in the country and the city itself is the third largest economic center in the UK.
The city is a sprawling metropolis with a rich history of architecture, a blossoming arts scene and a cultural legacy encompassing famous artists, musicians and authors.
Manchester’s economy remains very strong despite the recession and financial turmoil that have rocked the world over the last decade. Unemployment is far below the national average at just 3.4% while the average wage is a very high $652 per week.
Greater Manchester as an economic area is one of the few places in the UK that sustained growth levels throughout the recession – largely thanks to its impeccable support of new and existing businesses through low tax rates and other easing measures.
The city has a well-deserved reputation for economic excellence; it attracts a large pool of global talent, has a high proportion of skilled workers and is the headquarters for hundreds of major UK and global companies including The Co-Operative Group, UAE, and Kellogg’s.
Key sectors for employment
Manchester has a diverse spread of companies across all industries. However, some economic areas are particularly exceptional in the area.
Banking and financial services – Manchester accounts for 7% of UK financial services and banking output. With 60 banks, large insurance companies and hundreds of investment and financial service companies. The sector employs nearly 100,000 people and is the third largest financial sector in the UK – after London and Edinburgh.
Logistics – Manchester is within a 2 hour driving radius of over 60% of UK companies. This has made it a favorite destination for logistics companies and the primary distribution center for hundreds of national companies including Adidas, Argos, Kellogg’s and L’Oreal. Nearby Trafford Park is a short commute from central Manchester and is the largest industrial park in Europe.
Manufacturing and engineering – Comprising 16.1% of the local economy manufacturing and engineering is a vast sector in Manchester. There are a large number of aeronautics and military contractors here as well as specialised engineering companies ranging from textiles to energy. There are core industries represented here as well as more niche specialisations.
Health – As well as Manchester’ major hospitals the area also has a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that have a reputation for leading innovation worldwide. Major companies include AstraZeneca who have their UK headquarters here. The health sector contributes 13% of the regional economy and employs over 20,000 people.
Education – As well as having major universities and a plethora of schools Manchester is one of the most important centers for educational support services. There are a large number of education services and consultancy providers in the region including One Education and Ruth Moran Consulting.
Creative and digital – Manchester has long treasured its creative scene and has invested $4.35 Billion in developing infrastructure and companies in the area over the last decade. The BBC and ITV have regional headquarters in Manchester; which has made it a favorite destination for creative in the north.
However, the largest growth sectors are in the digital sphere with a plethora of marketing, PR and branding companies based here. Google has offices here, and there is a burgeoning market of new tech, media and digital start-ups. In terms of creative and digital Manchester’s only rival is London.
These represent Manchester’s major core industries but as a globally connected city you can find every major UK industry represented here.
Cost of living
Manchester is on a par in terms of living costs though rents are slightly above major cities outside of London.
The average one bedroom city center apartment will cost $783 a month while the average one bedroom apartment outside the city center is $572. Average rental prices for a house are $1442 in the city center or $1025 outside the city center.
Other living costs are fairly reasonable with meals out from $12.45 per person, beer from $3.75 a pint and wine from $4.35 a glass.
The city has fantastic transport infrastructure that includes regular bus and tram services traversing the city. Monthly tickets cost $58 for local transport. The city’s location means you have regular, fast access to London and all the other major UK cities.
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Manchester is one of the cheapest cities in the UK in terms of property prices. In Greater Manchester (including the surrounding area of the city center), average property prices are just $184,750. The most common properties are traditional Victorian terrace houses which average just $153,082. A city center house or apartment is more expensive with an average of $194,772.
Both inside and outside the city center there are a vast range of prices with some areas reaching an average value over $931,635.
Where to live
If you want to commute, try the beautiful areas of Whitfield, Sale or Prestwich. Though barely 5 miles from the city center they are blessed with wide open green spaces and a quieter way of life.
If you want something more vibrant and inner-city try Altrincham, Castlefield, or Ancoats. The latter of these two are particularly popular with students looking to enjoy Manchester’s “North Quarter Vibe”.
Cost of moving to Manchester
The average shipping cost of moving for a family of four from the following cities will cost approximately:
Schools and education
Like any major city Manchester has a very wide range of schools – some of which are fantastic others which are best avoided. With hundreds of primary schools to choose from it is very easy to find somewhere reputable in your area – though bear in mind most of the top performing primary schools are outside the city center.
The same can be said of secondary schools with the independents leading the league tables. The best independent schools are Withington Girls’ School, Manchester High School for Girls, Manchester Islamic School for Girls, St. Bede’s College, Chetham's School of Music, Kassim Darwish Grammar School for Boys and William Hulme’s Grammar School. For non-independent schools the highest ranked are The Kind David High School, The Barlow RC High School and Parrs Wood High School.
In terms of universities Manchester has three major universities – Salford, Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan. These have excellent reputations with Salford and Manchester University being well respected in a variety of specialist fields.