iwoca, one of Europe’s largest small business lenders, has compiled a list of the top 25 positions for SME jobs using ONS data on average salaries , commute routes, job density, house prices and the growth rate of the number of small businesses.
Research shows that in 2023, Glasgow, Salford and Liverpool are the top three regions to consider if you want to work for a small business.
Blackburn with Darwen comes in at number four, up 13 places and highly ranked thanks to short average commute times and SME growth. Blackburn residents typically spend 24 minutes commuting between work and home, compared with 40 minutes for those living in Greater London.
The textile capital has previously seen a boom in SME growth in recent years, as the number of small businesses in Blackburn increased 23% between 2017-2022.
As a growing manufacturing hub for the region, with plans to build a £60m skills campus in the center of town, Blackburn continues to be an attractive place to work and stay. .
Blackburn is five places ahead of Preston and 12 places ahead of Manchester, emerging as a key hub for small businesses in the region.
Preston broke into the top 25 for the first time, ranking ninth due to high scores for commuting time and work density.
Manchester, which took second place last year, dropped to 16th, with median house prices at £230,000 – £100,000, higher than in Blackburn.
Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said: “I’m delighted Blackburn has been named the UK’s fourth best town to work for a SME in 2023, up 13 places from last year.
“As a valuable source of local job creation, it is very encouraging that the number of small businesses in Blackburn has grown by 23% between 2017 and 2022.
“This SME growth, combined with the short average commute time of 24 minutes, makes Blackburn a great place to work.
“The iwoca findings are evidence of Blackburn’s strong post-pandemic recovery and I hope that this research will help further drive the business and investment in Blackburn.”
Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn leader with Darwen Council, said: “Encouraging SMEs to start and grow in Blackburn is one of the council’s growth goals and it’s great to have an independent analysis. This setup confirms that this method is succeeding. This gives us a real sense of purpose for future growth.”
Greater London failed to make the top 25 list for the second time, despite being traditionally considered the most important destination for UK job seekers.
While enjoying high hourly wages, Londoners face some of the highest house prices in the UK with a median house price of £582,289 and a typical daily commute time of 40 minutes. The combination pushes London down the rankings of towns and cities, suggesting that workers looking for small business can expand their search to other parts of the country.