The CharityJob Guide to Living And Working In Manchester

6 minute read

So you’re setting out for the UK’s third largest city, and likewise one of the strongest local economies in the country. It’s not London, but who wants it to be? A city generally considered to be one of the best places to live in the country. The place plays but its own rules, and if you have a chance is somewhere you should consider working! The city is a cultural juggernaut, home to many arts, theatre and music venues as well as having a rich and varied cultural history.

It’s also a great place to work, with a flourishing charity sector. Looking to the future it could be THE place to land a third sector job in the UK. Not to mention the exciting cultural scene just off your doorstep. So if you’re looking for, or just considering jobs in Manchester, then check out our guide below. A place famous for its football, music, industrial heritage and world class entertainment. Could Manchester be the place to look for third sector jobs?

Working in Manchester

The job market in Manchester is strong and it is now considered the fasted growing city in the UK.  A strong job market in the private sector is often a good sign for third sector jobs. Manchester was a thriving industrial city and its docks are still an important part of the job market. But these days its economy is centered on the financial, services and creative/cultural industries. It is also a great university city, with many well-known institutions, meaning that education is a large sector and graduates are in frequent supply. It is apparently the largest student campus in Europe! So, far from its single industry past, jobs in Manchester now cover a wide variety of industries.

Recovering after the decline of manufacturing, Manchester has reinvented itself as the undisputed cultural hub of the North. The arts, culture and heritage industries (many of which lie within the third sector.) play a significant part in both the cultural landscape of the city and jobs in Manchester. Graduates both locally and nationally, come to the city seeking work in its cultural and media sectors. New developments such as Spinningfields, aka “The Canary Wharf of the North” form the new financial heart of the city.

Manchester Jobs traffic

Manchester’s economy is strong. In fact it’s considered the largest functional economic area outside London, according to MIDAS. It pulls £56 Billon a year, manufacturing is still strong and the city is seeing a productivity boost in biotech, energy and environment jobs. As such, a wide variety of sectors contribute to the north’s strongest economy.

But what about the charity sector?

Well, Manchester has a thriving charity sector, and for us has the largest amount of open charity job positions in the north. There are both local and national charities working in Manchester. There is a myriad of hard working charities and not profits at work in the city, including Caritas, The Vegetarian Society, Barnabus, RSPCA, Costello and many, many more. For any charity jobs in Manchester we currently have check here.

Living in Manchester

At the risk of sounding un-cool, Manchester is cool. The city has gained somewhat of a reputation as being edgy and chic, especially the Northern Quarter. This is fueled by the strong creative community and large student population. Manchester offers a plethora of cafés, bars, restaurants, shops and venues which could take you a lifetime to explore. If you like live music, eating out, trendy bars and restaurants and plenty of engagement with the arts, then it’s the city for you! Perhaps check out The Cornerhouse for your art fix, or peruse the shops of the famous Northern Quarter. There’s heaps of places to eat of course, including Chinatown and the famous curry mile for all sorts of flavors from the subcontinent.

Now Manchester does have a reputation as being trendy, and somewhere to go to soak in the cool. But it is also a living, working city, not to mention an economic powerhouse. It has its edgy and cool areas, the Northern and Green quarters for example, head down the Burton Road in Disbury for chic eateries!  But residential and business developments are an important part of the city’s recent history. Life there can be exciting, but also relaxed and settled. The main Business district is located in the city centre. It  draws investment from all over the country and abroad.

Manchester Jobs Cityscape

Housing, transport and expenses

House prices and rents are noticeably cheaper than the South East, though this is probably no surprise. They lie at an average of £160,000, but this appears to be changing. Rents can be easier on the wallet than comparable rents in the south. With average rents ranging from £516.57 to £786.66 per month, once again this appears to be on the shift. The city centre is easy to get around on foot, so if you’re renting or buying there you may very well be able to walk to work. Though renovated and up and coming areas like Salford Quays are easily accessible by public transport.

Transport is accessible and convenient. Internally the city is served by rail, bus and a comprehensive tram network. Manchester is an easy and friendly city to cycle around. You can even catch the water taxi for a trip along the river. So there’s many ways to get to that job in Manchester! The city is linked to the rest of the country by two major motorways. The M6 which connects North & South and the M62 which takes drivers further east. Local roads like the A57 and A1 connect Manchester with other towns and cities in the region. If you want to escape for a while the country is never too far away. The are Pennines visible from the city on a clear day (but come one how many of those does Manchester really have!?) the Peak District isn’t too far away and rural Lancashire is home to many picturesque villages and rolling countryside.

Manchester Jobs Tram Pass

The job market

Jobs are moving from London, and increasingly settling in the North West. This is good news for Manchester (though perhaps bad news for us schmucks in the capital) making your search for jobs in Manchester a much more realistic prospect. Whilst it seems like a lot of “front of house” operations, are remaining in London, “back office” and support is increasingly moving to the North West. Creating more jobs overall in the region. Its traditional manufacturing markets remain strong, though its new markets of finance, media and entertainment contribute to continued growth. Manchester continues to draw job growth as it cements its place as the legal, financial and creative heart of the North. (Sorry Liverpool 🙁 ) Both investment and experienced professionals have been drawn to the city over the last ten years. The future looks bright for jobs in Manchester.

Manchester is also a major graduate market. With graduates from Manchester being the most targeted. With graduate schemes at major employers such as HSBC, RBS and the BBC.  Grad schems are also available at smaller, creative, media and advertising businesses which are more recent additions to the city. Many graduates are choosing to either stay there after graduating, or even move to the city seeking opportunities.

If you’re looking to get involved in the charity and not-for-profit sector, then take a look at our volunteer positions. We find greater Manchester to have high availability for volunteer positions. The region in general having the most availability outside of London.  As for Charity Jobs in Manchester, we do see a significantly smaller amount than volunteer positions. That said, excluding the South East the region again had the most jobs outside of London. So it is certainly somewhere to consider for a charity sector career. Though graduate and volunteer opportunities may prove to be a more reliable way into the sector.

Manchester jobs park

What to do in Manchester

So now the humdrum HRish part is over! We can talk about things to do in Manchester. And well, there’s a whole bunch of things to get up to in the north’s cultural capital.  What to do…well, you might want to take in the city centre first, especially the fashionable and edgy Northern Quarter and Ancotes. The Northern Quarter in particular is a hub for culture, not just in Manchester either, but nationally! The bustling streets are brimming with bars, cafes, venues, galleries, theatres, shops and all sorts of homes for the arts. You can also check out Chinatown and the historic cathedral quarter. The city is home to many internationally renowned museums which you might want to check out, such as The Manchester Museum (it has a T-rex!) the Museum of Science and Industry and The Whitworth Art Gallery. If you’re in to your music, then why not go record shopping in the many independent record shops to bolster that collection, check out Vinyl Exchange or Piccadilly Records. Maybe then grab a pint and a pie at the purposefully old school Smithfield.

What’s nearby?

Manchester is a compact city. In many ways it’s easy for you to escape to the country for a while. The Lancashire countryside is easily accessible, as well as the Pennines which are visibly close to the city. You can even get away to the Peak District and Lake District without travelling too far. In terms of other cities Liverpool is a short train ride or drive away, if you fancy seeing the other great city in the region.

Manchester Jobs shops

The future looks good for Manchester, as growth is expected to continue. So if you live there, or you’re planning on moving there, then check out our great Charity Jobs in Manchester here. With the investment into the Northern powerhouse project 3.4 billion of local investment has been allocated, securing growth for the region in the next few years. In many ways a strong charity sector rests alongside a strong corporate sector, with continued investment and decisions by graduates to live there, Manchester could be THE place to find your charity job. Check out our great Charity Jobs in Manchester through CharityJob.



Sanjay Bheenuck

Former Content and SEO Lead at CharityJob. Writer of obscure fiction and global wanderer in my spare time.

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