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Debut: graduate jobs & advice

Careers & insight for students

Leeds at a glance

Leeds is notorious for being one of the most ‘hipster’ cities in the UK. With a thriving social scene, boat loads of attractions and a famously good nightlife for students, you’re guaranteed to have a great time there. It’s the third biggest city in the UK, home to a population of over 800,00 people and also housing hundreds of companies from a range of sectors.

It’s a great option for anyone who is looking to reap the rewards of a cultural city without the hefty price tag that London brings. Rent is cheap, as are general living costs, and travel is easy between some of the other big northern powerhouse cities. Leeds is the self-proclaimed ‘unofficial capital of Yorkshire’, but don’t let Sheffield or York hear us say that!

Area guide to Leeds

Leeds has a big university population, with Hyde Park, Headingley and Burley being some of the most popular hubs for student and graduate dwellers. All of these areas include lots of independent cafes, bars and restaurants, many of which boast discounts for students. Leeds is also home to the famous ‘Otley Run’ pub crawl – spend any weekend in the city and you’ll be certain to spot all the students taking part (most likely in fancy dress).

The city itself is quite small, with universities, neighbourhoods and downtown all within walking distance. Besides its huge cultural scene – with a range of theatres, museums and galleries – there’s also huge hub for shopping. Trinity Leeds offers all the high-street brands, whilst the Corn Exchange and Arcades host lots of quirky boutiques. Besides everything to do in the city itself, you’re right on the doorstep of stunning rural landscapes, including the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors nearby – plus easy links to Manchester, Sheffield and York.

Universities in Leeds

Leeds is home to two of the biggest universities in the country – University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett – as well as a number of smaller institutions, including conservatoires.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the institutions that you’ll be able to study at in Leeds:


Employers in Leeds

Hundreds of big employers have major operations in the city, so there’s a wide scope for graduate roles. From law and finance to retail and technology, whatever sector you’re interested in, Leeds will have roles perfect for you.

Some of the companies who have offices in Leeds include FDM, Arcadia, Colas, EY and Mediacom. And guess what? They all advertise their roles on Debut, so keep checking in to be the first to hear when roles go live.

Leeds by Sector

This Yorkshire hub is the UK’s fastest growing city and the biggest driver of the region overall, turning over £64.6 million to the economy. It also has one of the most diverse economies in the country, with a range of opportunities to choose from.


What many people don’t realise is that outside of London, Leeds is probably the biggest financial centre in the UK. 343,000 people are employed in the financial, legal, business support and professional sectors, and 200 accountancy and 180 legal firms are based in the city. There are particular strengths in banking, insurance and fintech.


Leeds has one of the largest employment centres for manufacturing, and succeeds in three key areas; market size, workforce skills and supply chain. The region itself is also renowned across the world for technical and scientific capabilities in metrology, robotics, materials and the digitalisation of manufacturing. Which leads very nicely into our next sector…

Creative & digital

Yorkshire was named the top region for creative industries, with Leeds itself having more than 3,000 creative businesses. Media giant Channel 4 also relocated its HQ to Leeds, a big step in moving away from the graduate brain-drain of London. In the last year, the number of tech jobs in Leeds has risen by 46%, and is home to some of the North’s fastest growing tech businesses.

Cost of living in Leeds

Possibly the greatest thing about Northern living is how cheap everything is. It’s been ranked as the UK’s best city for quality of life, taking into account health, education, income and living costs. With living costs on average £377 per week, and a typical pint costing a mere £2.40, Leeds comes in at 16.59% cheaper than London. What a bargain.

Leeds’ residents get all the benefits of living in an exciting vibrant cosmopolitan hub without the price tag. Like most Northern cities, rent is comparatively cheaper than down south and it’s easier to dine out and go for after-work drinks on a shoestring. You’ll still have access to some fantastic employment opportunities and career development paths, but you might actually be able to save money at the same time.

Travel around the city is relatively easy; most places are within walking distance anyway, but otherwise a student ticket on the bus will cost you a measly £1.20. Result! You can also travel to London quite cheaply – with a return ticket with a railcard costing around £35 if you book at the right time.

  • Accountancy/Professional Services
  • Consulting
  • Sales
  • Technology


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