Browse Adzuna Blog »

The best cities internationally for jobseekers

Have you ever considered working abroad? Perhaps the laptop lifestyle appeals and you love the idea of travelling the world while running a business from your laptop?

While the global pandemic has made travel more difficult in the short-term, it has also accelerated the trend to remote working. Workers no longer need to live in or within commuting distance of the city where they work in the way they did 5 years ago, and Zoom and Google Hangouts have become part of the everyday corporate dictionary.

Here at Adzuna, we decided to dive deeper into what makes a city a great place to look for a job – from how many jobs are on offer, to local unemployment rates and the affordability of renting a property. Take a look at our findings in our inaugural Adzuna City Ranking for 2020.



Methodology: Adzuna analysed major cities in each of the 16 markets it is present in (UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Poland, Russia, India, Singapore, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil). Please note the analysis does not include cities in countries where Adzuna does not have a presence. We scored each city on five key metrics related to jobseeking: hiring activity, average pay, relative rental costs, local unemployment rates, and job density within each area. Each of these factors provides a critical understanding of the experience of jobseeking and working within the cities studied. These scores were then combined to give an overall Adzuna score which was used to create the Adzuna City Ranking 2020, revealing some of the best cities in the world for jobseekers. 


Despite the global pandemic, the UK is still a land of opportunity for jobseekers

Manchester is the highest ranked city in the UK for jobseekers, featuring at #22 in our list, behind Hamburg and Paris at #21 and ahead of Edinburgh at #24, London at #25 and New York at #26. The city currently boasts 16,053 job openings and crucially, Manchester maintains a strong cost-of-living to earnings ratio, with the average cost to rent a 2-bed flat (£742) accounting for just 24% of average monthly pay packets (£3,078). Unemployment within Manchester currently sits at 4.8%.

London is 4th in terms of overall job opportunities, with 101,217 advertised vacancies on offer, behind just three cities: Moscow (259,439), New York (203,442) and St Petersburg (114,759). However, the cost to rent a 2-bed flat (£1,596) is equivalent to 43% of average monthly pay packets (£3,734). This remains a better ratio than American cities New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where equivalent rental costs eat up 56%, 56% and 73% of monthly earnings. Unemployment within London sits at 6.0%.

Birmingham tops the charts for affordability in the UK, with the average cost to rent a 2-bed flat (£684) equivalent to just 22% of average monthly earnings (£3,142). This makes the city the 13th most affordable in the world for jobseekers. With 8,786 advertised vacancies on offer, job opportunities are also relatively plentiful. However, unemployment is relatively high at 8.0%.

Edinburgh and Cardiff rank as the 24th and 35th best cities internationally for jobseekers respectively. Scotland’s capital currently has 4,435 job openings available, while Cardiff boasts 2,312 openings. Both cities offer good property affordability, with the cost of renting a 2-bed flat equal to 27% and 26% of monthly earnings. Unemployment is also relatively low in both cities, at just 2.7% in Edinburgh and just 3.6% in Cardiff. 


Looking further afield

Overall, our ranking finds St Petersburg in Russia is the number 1 city internationally for jobseekers, followed by Vienna, Austria. St Petersburg, located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, is the cultural heartland and a key industrial and financial centre of Russia. The city specialises in mechanical engineering, metallurgy and the food industry. Car production is also a key sector, with international companies including Toyota, General Motors, Hyundai and Nissan all with bases within the city.

Palermo, Italy, tops the list as the most affordable city for jobseekers, with the cost to rent a 2-bed flat equal to just 15% of average monthly pay. Other top affordable cities include Edmonton, Canada (#2), Port Elizabeth, South Africa (#3) and Calgary, Canada (#4). Salvador in Brazil is the least affordable city for jobseekers, with the cost to rent a 2-bed flat equivalent to 74% of average monthly pay, followed by Los Angeles, USA (73%).

To sum-up, the UK is still an attractive option for jobseekers, with London offering the fourth-highest vacancy count of any city, and thriving hubs Manchester and Birmingham home to great career options and lower living costs. But for those willing to look further afield, do your research and great job prospects and affordability may await.