Bristol built its prosperity on its sea trade, but in recent years its economy has centered on creative media, electronics, and aerospace industries. Bristol is now internationally recognized as the capital of the South West, and for its knowledge economy in aerospace and defense, creative and media, the environmental sector, financial services, information communications technologies, and professional services.
Bristol’s vibrant economy, good transportation links, and quality of life mean that it attracts skilled workers from across the UK and abroad. Consequently, Bristol now has a significantly higher than average proportion of the population with university degrees, making it a sought after location for employers and employees alike.
Bristol has the fifth highest per capita GDP in the entire UK, only behind London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, and Nottingham. It is recognized as one of the major cities for business and commerce in the Southwest region, and the UK overall. The city is still attracting investment, with businesses in the creative and ICT sectors either opening new facilities or expanding those that are already in situ.
Employment rates in the city continue to grow steadily, in line with the UK average, and reports suggest that Bristol and the West of England are continuing to prosper, maintaining their impressive track record of economic growth and innovation.
Bristol has several key areas of strength when looking at its commercial landscape, and has seen a growing rise in professionals moving into the city to live and work. If you are looking for work in Bristol, the following sectors might prove to be the most promising.
Dating back as far as 1910, Bristol’s aerospace industry and associated businesses have seen sustainable employment for people within the industry and other engineering professions; with major employers such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce, BAE (British Aerospace), and the MoD (Ministry of Defence) operating in the area, Bristol holds a leading position in the world’s aerospace industry.
Creative and cultural industry accounts for 12% of all businesses in Bristol, and the city’s pre-eminence in these sectors continues to attract the best people and the best businesses to the area. Creative and media businesses operating out of the city are varied and include advertising and marketing, animation, design, digital, public relations, publishing, television and film (accounting for 25% of the global output for environmental film and television productions).
The regeneration of the city’s old shipping areas has provided Bristol's agencies with an abundance of room to expand, and in turn win work from their London competitors, gaining a reputation for the quality of work and more competitive pricing.
Bristol is the third largest financial services center in the UK outside of London. Bristol has a long history of specializing in insurance, banking and ethical investment, and has an array of exciting opportunities and companies within the city, from commercial banking and financial advisers through to investors, brokers and actuaries, to name a few. As such, there are plenty of opportunities, whatever your level, within the financial services sector in Bristol.
Companies such as AXA, Bank of Ireland, and Lloyds Banking Group, for instance, all have large hubs in the city, employing several thousand finance professionals.
Permission to live and work in Bristol is standardized alongside the UK’s Immigration Policies. A person must be able to evidence their eligibility to take up employment before any employer will allow them to start work. However, there are several circumstances that allow you to live and work in the UK dependent on your status and your country of origin, each requiring different evidence to be provided.
Any individual who possesses a UK Passport may obviously live and work in the UK without restrictions; employers will ask to see and copy the passport to show checks have been carried out.
EU and Non-EU citizens may have the right to live and work within the UK subject to providing evidence of work visas and/or travel documents. For a full guide to what documentation you will need to take up an offer of employment and further information on UK visas, have a look at the official government website. In general, these are fairly standard checks that any country will require before offering employment.