More than a quarter (26%) of Bristolians are already on their way to pursuing their ideal career and consider their current role part of a long-term career plan, according to a survey of working Brits carried out by specialist recruiter Randstad.

This significant proportion of employees in their perfect role saw Bristol oust other major UK cities including London (25%), Edinburgh (22%) and Brighton (21%).

The accolade follows Bristol being named Britain’s best city to live in by The Sunday Times back in March and scoring consistently well in various other quality of life measurements.

“I am already on my way to being in my dream career – my current job is part of a long-term career”

Responses from British workers:
  • Bristol: 26%
  • London: 25%
  • Edinburgh: 22%
  • Brighton: 21%
  • Birmingham: 20%
  • Norwich: 17%
  • Belfast: 17%
  • Cardiff: 15%
  • Nottingham: 11%
  • Newcastle: 11%
  • Manchester: 11%
  • Leeds: 11%

Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Business Support, said: “We spend a significant proportion of our lives at work, so doing a job you love helps make the daily routine feel more enjoyable. Bristol constantly tops polls gauging quality of life and it is possible that feeling so happy in their personal lives makes residents more inspired to achieve perfection in their professional personas.”

But while one in four residents may be in their ideal job, Bristol isn't the leading UK city in terms of percentage of the workforce who feel professionally fulfilled. Cardiff scoops that honour, with almost four-fifths (78%) of employees there feeling fulfilled at work, up from just 54% last year, a massive 24% increase. Birmingham (75%) and London (70%) occupy the other podium spots. By contrast 57% of Bristol workers feel fulfilled in the workplace, down 6% from last year’s 63%.

Bristol slips from fifth most professionally fulfilled UK city to sixth

The disparity between Bristol being home to the most employees in their dream job, yet only mid-table when it comes to overall fulfilment shows that being in the right career is only part of the overall fulfilment picture and other factors such as pay, job security, recognition, length of tenure and the opportunity to learn new skills are all part of the blend that constitute professional fulfilment.

Overall, how fulfilled do you feel in terms of your work?

  1. Cardiff: 78% (11)
  2. Birmingham: 75% (7)
  3. London: 70% (9)
  4. Brighton: 68% (3)
  5. Edinburgh: 61% (10)
  6. Bristol: 57% (5)
  7. Belfast: 56% (4)
  8. Leeds: 54% (6)
  9. Manchester: 53% (8)
  10. Newcastle: 50% (1)
  11. Nottingham: 50% (2)
  12. Norwich: 47% (12)

(last year ranking in brackets)

In terms of the cities perceived to be the most rewarding to work in, the bright lights of London have lost none of their allure with more than a third (34%) of UK employees regarding it to be the most professionally fulfilled location. Brighton (11%) and Edinburgh (8%) are the next most regarded locales, with Bristol entrenched firmly in mid-table with just 7% of UK workers envious of the city’s fulfilment levels.

Where do you think is the most professionally fulfilling place to work in the UK?

  • London: 34%
  • Brighton: 11%
  • Edinburgh: 8%
  • Manchester: 7%
  • Leeds: 7%
  • Birmingham: 7%
  • Bristol: 7%
  • Norfolk: 6%
  • Nottingham: 5%
  • Newcastle: 3%
  • Cardiff: 3%
  • Belfast: 3%

"Bristol is on a par with most UK cities in terms of fulfilment and outflanks all others in terms of those in their dream job"

Ruth Jacobs added: “Bristol is on a par with most UK cities in terms of fulfilment and outflanks all others in terms of those in their dream job, but its relatively low perception as a fulfilling place to work shows that the positivity around the city is not always discernible to outsiders.

"The overall fulfilment figure sitting at 57% also shows that while the percentage of those in their dream job tops other cities, employers in the area can’t afford to be complacent and need to remember the other factors that help increase satisfaction levels such as job variety, contract type, recognition and pay.

"Those living in Bristol are fully aware of its reputation as a hub for industries such as financial and professional services – as well as an inspiring location for creative and communications businesses – but for the time being it would seem it’s something of a well-kept workplace secret.

"With the building trade now booming again and Bristol University in particular investing heavily in improving its facilities, there are plenty of opportunities in the city – and for those who commute from areas such as Taunton and Cardiff. The array of gongs the city has landed for its desirability as a place to live has improved the general reputation of Bristol, now all that is needed is a professional equivalent.”

Interested in more?

Download our latest fulfilment report