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New employee wellbeing league table ranks 86 UK locations for staff happiness

Discover the latest insights from the Employee Wellbeing League Table, revealing the state of employee wellbeing across 86 UK towns and cities.

As businesses across the UK grapple with the challenge of maintaining a motivated and productive workforce, the importance of employee wellbeing has never been more pronounced. The recent Employee Wellbeing League Table, published by, sheds light on the state of employee wellbeing across 86 UK towns and cities. This comprehensive report not only ranks these locations but also provides invaluable insights into the factors influencing workplace satisfaction and health.

The Importance of Employee Wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is a multifaceted concept that encompasses the physical and mental health of individuals in their workplace. It includes factors such as work-life balance, job satisfaction, stress management, and access to supportive resources. Financial stability, positive workplace relationships, and opportunities for personal and professional growth also play crucial roles. When organisations prioritise employee wellbeing, they not only enhance the quality of life for their employees but also boost organisational success by reducing absenteeism and turnover, while fostering a more collaborative and innovative work environment.

However, measuring and quantifying employee wellbeing can be challenging.’s report addresses this by analysing key metrics including median salary, weekly hours worked, commute time, happiness score, and life satisfaction score. By examining these factors, the report paints a detailed picture of employee wellbeing across different geographic areas.

Key Findings from the League Table

One of the most notable findings from the report is the broad geographic spread among the top-ranking locations, with no clear north-south divide or geographic bias. Cheltenham tops the league table, followed by the Shetland Islands, Stirling, Milton Keynes, and Dumfries & Galloway. Interestingly, Cheltenham and the Shetland Islands, which are 600 miles apart, occupy the first and second positions respectively. This indicates that exceptional employee wellbeing is not confined to any specific region.

Scotland emerges as a significant performer, with more than a third of the top 15 locations situated in the country. Despite accounting for only 8.2% of the UK population, Scotland has three locations in the top five. This suggests that Scottish towns and cities are doing something right when it comes to fostering employee wellbeing. At a county level, Essex leads the pack, with two towns in the top 10.

The top 10 towns and cities according to the report are:

1. Cheltenham

2. Shetland Islands

3. Stirling

4. Milton Keynes

5. Dumfries & Galloway

6. Oxford

7. Chelmsford

8. Falkirk

9. Colchester

10. Bedford

Factors Influencing Wellbeing

The metrics used in the report provide a comprehensive view of what influences employee wellbeing. For instance, median salary is a crucial factor, as financial stability is directly linked to overall wellbeing. Commute time also plays a significant role; shorter commutes generally lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and lower stress levels. Weekly hours worked is another critical metric, with a balanced workload contributing positively to both physical and mental health.

Happiness and life satisfaction scores, self-rated by employees, offer subjective yet vital insights into overall wellbeing. These scores reflect how employees perceive their lives and work environments, giving a human dimension to the data.

Regional and Industry Trends

The report highlights that no single region has a monopoly on high employee wellbeing, with top-performing towns and cities scattered across the UK. This indicates that local initiatives and policies play a significant role in shaping workplace experiences. For example, Cheltenham’s high ranking could be attributed to its combination of relatively high salaries, manageable working hours, and shorter commute times.

Scotland’s strong performance, particularly in locations like Stirling and Dumfries & Galloway, can be seen as a testament to the effectiveness of regional policies aimed at improving quality of life. These areas might be benefiting from a combination of lower living costs, strong community support systems, and initiatives promoting work-life balance.

In terms of industries, the financial services, tech, and healthcare sectors are often highlighted for their comprehensive wellbeing programmes. These sectors, driven by the need to retain top talent and manage high-stress environments, tend to offer flexible working hours, mental health support, and other wellbeing initiatives.

Implications for Employers and Policymakers

For employers, the findings of the report underscore the importance of investing in employee wellbeing. By understanding the factors that contribute to high wellbeing scores, businesses can tailor their strategies to create a supportive and engaging work environment. This includes offering competitive salaries, promoting work-life balance, and providing resources for mental health and personal development.

Policymakers can also draw valuable lessons from the report. The success of Scottish towns and cities in the rankings suggests that targeted regional policies can have a significant impact on employee wellbeing. Investments in infrastructure, community support, and flexible working arrangements can help replicate these successes in other parts of the UK.

*The Employee Wellbeing League Table by offers a comprehensive and detailed look at how employee wellbeing varies across the UK. By highlighting the factors that contribute to a positive work environment, the report provides a roadmap for employers and policymakers to enhance the quality of life for their workforce. As the importance of employee wellbeing continues to grow, such insights will be crucial in shaping the future of work in the UK.

Employee wellbeing league table – We rank 86 UK towns and cities

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