Job opportunities in Bradford
Bradford is one of the biggest cities in the UK and boasts a large and growing economy worth £8.7 billion, the eighth largest in England. Once famous for textile production, the Northern powerhouse remains an important manufacturing centre today, as well as having strengths in financial and professional services, retail, construction and the digital sector.
If you're looking for jobs in Bradford, read on to discover some of the main employers and opportunities in our latest city guide.
Young and diverse city
Home to more than half a million people, Bradford has a population that is vibrant and diverse. More than 140 languages are spoken across the district and 22.6% of its inhabitants are under the age of 16, making it one of the "youngest" cities in the UK.
With competitive house prices and stunning Yorkshire countryside on its doorstep, Bradford has much to offer. A recent survey by Glassdoor named Bradford the eighth-best UK city to work in, rating it highly for hiring opportunities, job satisfaction, and low cost of living.
Although earnings in Bradford are below regional and national averages, the city is the third most affordable for property in the UK (after Londonderry and Stirling), according to a survey by Lloyds Bank. House prices in Bradford are 3.8 times the average salary. In places like London, Oxford and Winchester, house prices are more than 10 times average salary.
Designated the world's first UNESCO City of Film, Bradford also boasts a packed cultural events calendar, with award-winning museums and galleries and impressive theatres.
Bradford is popular with both big and small businesses thanks to its young workforce and enviable position at the heart of the UK.
'Employers like Bradford because they have access to a wide labour market from Leeds and further afield. Wage bills tend to be slightly lower than Leeds and property is also cheaper,' says Mark Gill, managing director of Bradford and Leeds-based Headway Recruitment.
More than 40 large companies are headquartered in the district, including Morrisons, Yorkshire Building Society, Provident Financial, Hallmark Cards, Pace (maker of digital set-top boxes), Seabrook Crisps, Yorkshire Water and retailer Freeman Grattan Holdings.
Other major employers in the area include Santander, BorgWarner Ltd (supplier of turbo-charging systems to the automotive industry), law firm Gordons LLP, insurance company Congregational & General, and Radio Design (wireless telecommunications product design).
Manufacturing jobs in Bradford
Bradford was an industrial boomtown in the 19th century - and unlike many areas of the UK, manufacturing remains an economic strength for the city today.
According to Invest in Bradford, the city is home to 1,300 manufacturing businesses, employing 24,700 people. Around 12% of employees in the city work in manufacturing, compared to 8.5% in Great Britain as a whole.
Key sub-sectors include textiles (providing 2,400 manufacturing jobs), electronics, printing, medical equipment, automotive engineering, and aerospace and energy components.
Digital and creative jobs
Once a trailblazer of the industrial revolution, Bradford is now leading the way in digital technology. As well as having the fastest broadband speed in the UK, the city is investing in ultrafast broadband, 4G and city centre Wi-Fi to further improve digital infrastructure.
The tech industry is supported by the Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire - one of three national centres created to advance digital ideas and support small tech businesses. The University of Bradford also runs well-respected digital/technology courses.
If you're looking for tech jobs in Bradford, the city's Airedale Digital Corridor is home to many leading digital and electronic firms, including Pace, Echostar Europe, Radio Design, Teledyne Defence and Bradford Technology Ltd. However, most of the job opportunities are with small firms. The city has 1,100 tech businesses - employing 8,100 people – and most (89%) employ fewer than 10 staff, while 9% of firms employ between 10 and 50 staff.
Digital health tech is a particular strength for the city. In 2014, the University won its bid to set up a University Enterprise Zone in digital health innovations. As part of the programme, two new centres are expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2024.
The University campus will get a £7m health and well-being centre, to be used by doctors, opticians and pharmacists and for trialling new health devices and services. Earlier this year, The Digital Exchange, a former textile warehouse in the town's Little Germany area, was upgraded to create a digital health business incubator for small and young companies.
Professional and financial services
The professional and financial services industry is one of the strongest and fastest growing in Bradford, partly buoyed by the strength of the sector in the wider Leeds city region.
Bradford is an important banking location, with office operations for global and national firms, including Yorkshire Bank, Yorkshire Building Society, UK Asset Resolution Ltd (UKAR), Ecology Building Society, Provident Financial and Santander.
The sector generates £13 billion each year, employing more than 250,000 people, and according to Invest in Bradford, is predicted to grow by 51% between now and 2022.
Mark Gill of Headway Recruitment says: 'We've seen high demand for payroll and accountancy staff across all sectors.
'We work with major banks in the city and there is consistent demand for staff. For senior positions they are looking for people with solid financial industry experience, but at lower levels, aptitude and customer service experience is more important – they are prepared to train people up on the financial side. Other finance and compliance companies we work with are also expanding, so the whole sector seems buoyant at the moment.'