A new survey has analysed various large towns and cities within the UK and found the top 10 which have the happiest workforce. 

New research conducted by SmartSurvey, an online survey software and questioning tool, has found the 10 happiest places to work in the UK.

This was calculated through comparing average earnings, hours worked, overtime hours, commute time and happiness and satisfaction scores.

In first place was Edinburgh in Scotland, considered to have the happiest workforce in all of the UK. It beat the other regions in terms of having a higher average salary (£28,829)  but also workers in this city also completed the least amount of overtime hours – only 2.3 a week.

Next on the list was Bournemouth in the South West of England which ranked 2nd. This town had the highest happiness score on the list (7.77) and one of the shortest commutes into work (17.5 minutes).

Third was Brighton and Hove in the South East of England. The median annual earnings were the second highest on the list (£27,865) and had a high score for life satisfaction (7.77).

Rank Local Authority Median annual earnings Median Overtime Hours Average Happiness Score Average Life Satisfaction Score Average Commute Time (minutes) Overall Score
1 Edinburgh £28,829 2.3 7.37 7.6 20.6 82.84
2 Bournemouth £25,184 2.8 7.75 7.77 17.5 77.15
3 Brighton and Hove £27,865 3.0 7.32 7.61 18.2 77.09
4 Southend-on-Sea £26,755 2.9 7.51 7.71 20.9 75.31
5 Bristol £27,507 3.0 7.27 7.49 21.6 74.08
6 Colchester £24,962 2.9 7.33 7.47 21.2 72.30
7 Glasgow £25,705 3.1 7.23 7.5 19.8 72.24
8 Liverpool £24,963 3.4 7.33 7.48 19.1 69.33
9 Manchester £23,017 3.2 7.45 7.54 19.7 68.69
10 Milton Keynes £28,545 3.0 7.33 7.6 14.1 68.67

Mo Nasser, CEO of SmartSurvey, identified five key ways to improve employee happiness:

  • Create a clear career path – Mo said: “Speak to your employees and find out what they want from their career, from here you can develop a clear career path for them and set goals for them to work towards.”
  • Show recognition – “Make sure you are engaging with your employees and showing recognition when they produce amazing results. Shoutout good work in the team Slack channel or send around emails to the team highlighting the company wins every month.”
  • Create a positive environment – “A positive culture and workplace environment is so important, as it encourages employees to communicate, share ideas and work together. Make sure you don’t lose the social element of work while we are working from home and arrange social calls over Zoom or Slack.”
  • Prioritise a work-life balance – “Work/life balance is important. If your workers have a better work/life balance, they tend to be happier and more productive. This is why remote working has so many benefits, not just for employees but for companies. Allow people to manage their own schedule, have some guidelines for overlapping hours during the day.”
  • Offer benefits – “Consider offering extra benefits such as private healthcare, mental health services or a gym membership. These are great perks and will help keep your employees happy and healthy! Employee happiness is so important for your business. Happy employers are more creative, provide a better level of service to your customers or clients and are less likely to leave the company for a new job.”

*The full research can be found at SmartSurvey’s website under ‘UK’s Happiest Workforces’.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.