Job opportunities in Peterborough
Peterborough's economy grew rapidly in the 19th century, stimulated by the arrival of the railway, with much of its prosperity built on the foundation of the London Brick Company's base in the city. The suburb of Fletton even gave its name to the distinctive pinky-red bricks that make up so much of London's housing stock. Today, the city is looking to the future and attracting businesses in all sectors and of all sizes – making it a serious option for many jobseekers in the region and beyond.
Located in the East Anglian county of Cambridgeshire, Peterborough is currently home to more than 180,000 people, with a wider catchment area of some 800,000.
A report by economists at the McKinsey Global Institute in 2011 forecast that Peterborough would be England's fastest-growing city by the year 2025 – and it already has an impressive productivity (GVA) of £50,576 per worker, coupled with an employment rate of 75 per cent.
Laura Chambers, head and marketing and communications at Opportunity Peterborough, is confident that the city's economic prospects are bright.
"We have representatives of every industry in our city," she said. "This means we're not reliant on a single sector and at 83 per cent, we have a higher proportion of private sector businesses compared to the national average of 77 per cent – giving us greater resilience against public sector fluctuations.
"We expect our manufacturing, agri-tech, financial and digital sectors to perform well over the coming years. They have all enjoyed strong growth recently and the macro economic climate is signalling a good outlook for these sectors to continue their upward trajectory."
Anne Corder Recruitment is a well-established employment agency which serves a range of sectors in Peterborough. Recruitment partner Nel Woolcott, who has been placing candidates in the city for 19 years, believes the job market is thriving, with jobseekers able to benefit from competition among employers.
She said: "Businesses are becoming increasingly competitive over their retention and attraction; they are working hard to appeal to the right individuals and are offering great opportunities to promising candidates.
"Paydata, a reward management consultancy in Peterborough, recently surveyed 25 of the leading local businesses: the results showed 65 per cent of organisations questioned expect to have difficulties in recruiting the right quality of staff in the run up to the end of 2016."
The city has also developed a focus on renewable energy and environmental technology. In fact, it claims to be home to the UK's largest cluster of environmental businesses - some 380 of them.
As mentioned, the railway played a big part in Peterborough's historic growth - and a stop on the East Coast Main Line means that London is just 45 minutes away by train.
The A1M is close at hand and Stansted Airport is just over an hour away by car – with East Midlands Airport just a touch further.
And it's the city's good transport links which are making it increasingly popular as a distribution hub, with national and international companies setting up bases there.
Nel Woolcott commented: "There are a huge number of opportunities opening up to job seekers, whether they are in HR, IT, security or warehouse management. The logistics sector in Peterborough is rapidly growing and it promises to continue to do so in the near future."
And it's not just distribution firms taking advantage of the city's convenient location and transport links.
Nel continued: "Peterborough is a real hub for manufacturing, logistics, FMCG and technology. But there are a huge number of other businesses in the city too.
"Many people know Peterborough as the home of Perkins Engines, British Sugar and Thomas Cook, but there are many different businesses in Peterborough. For example, there's a real variety of smaller professional services throughout the city: from marketing agencies through to software developers and IT service providers.
"On top of that, there are many charities choosing to base their headquarters in Peterborough as a more affordable – but still well connected and up-and-coming – location in comparison to London."
All the companies need premises and these are being offered in a major riverfront development at Fletton Quays,providing 20 acres of prime development land for office, residential, restaurant, leisure and culture opportunities.
There are also housing developments popping up across the city – which has a relatively low income-to-house price ratio of 5.11. For comparison, the ratio for nearby Cambridge is 9.9.
And with leisure developments including two multiplex cinemas, new retail facilities and more than £25m being spent to spruce up the city centre, Peterborough should have plenty to offer future employees.
Laura Chambers said: "People put down roots in Peterborough. With the highest ratio of urban green space per person in the UK and a lively leisure and culture offer, Peterborough is simply a great place to live and bring up a family.
"We've invested heavily in our education to match our exceptional growth. Peterborough now has a broad selection of state primary and secondary, academy, independent and specialist schools. More than 80 per cent are rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.
"Property in Peterborough is attractive, affordable and plentiful. We have modern apartments overlooking the river, world-leading eco accommodation, Victorian and Edwardian city centre terraced houses and stone built cottages in the surrounding country villages.
"When you consider what we have to offer, it's no wonder businesses are choosing to locate their operations in Peterborough."
If you're considering Peterborough as an option and work in IT or HR, your skills are in particularly high demand.
Nel Woolcott said: "There is a digital skills shortage in Peterborough. Whether that's for digital marketing, software and web development, or IT, businesses are struggling to find candidates who fit the skill sets they require.
"HR professionals, at all levels, are also in high demand – both within the city and in the surrounding areas. The HR community is particularly active in Peterborough, with popular CIPD groups and many seminars and events throughout the year."