image: Birmingham canals

 

 

 

Introduction

Birmingham, sometimes known as the UK’s second city, lies in the heart of England about 112 miles north west of London. As the largest city after London, it dominates the West Midlands region and  forms a conurbation with the largely residential borough of Solihull to the south east, and the city of Wolverhampton and the industrial towns of the Black Country to the north west.

In recent years, it has shrugged off its industrial image through considerable building investment, including the redevelopment of the Bullring shopping centre, now one of the busiest in the UK. In addition, some £17billion of public infrastructure is planned and is underway in the city, including a revamp of New Street station, airport improvements and a new library.

The Big City Plan is a large redevelopment plan covering everything from transport to sports facilities, with the aim of making Birmingham one of the top 20 cities in the world to live in within 20 years.

Source: Marketing Birmingham

Population

Regeneration has helped to make Birmingham the most populous British city outside London with 1,016,800 inhabitants according to the Office for National Statistics in 2008.

The ONS also revealed that the city’s population is youthful, with 45.8% of residents aged under 30 compared with the national average of 36.6%. The city is also a melting pot of cultures, with more than 40% of people from Asian, Black, Chinese or mixed-race backgrounds and some 16.5% of the population born outside the UK.

Economy

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, Birmingham has the second-largest economy in the UK outside London. While the Industrial Revolution saw the city grow through manufacturing and engineering, its economy today is dominated by the service sector, which in 2003 accounted for 78% of the city's economic output and 97% of its economic growth (source: ONS).

General employment facts:

  • Some 80% of people are employed in the service sector
  • Planned and completed projects since 1998 are expected to create an additional 20,100 jobs across all sectors by 2010, but this figure could actually could be double that

Source: Birmingham Economic Information Centre

Hospitality job opportunities

Tourism is an increasingly important part of Birmingham’s local economy, being the fourth most-visited city by foreign visitors in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Leisure tourism is strengthening, too. The city is bidding for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and developments at Warwickshire County Cricket Club are likely to attract an increasing number of international matches.

Source: Marketing Birmingham

Looking forward, opportunities for hotel jobs look promising. Many hotel developments have yet to be confirmed, but there are at least 16 new hotels in the pipeline, including:

  • 2010/11– Five star, 198 room Westin hotel in the Snow Hill mixed development
  • 2010/11 – The Cube, a 40 bedroom boutique hotel in the Mailbox development
  • 2010 – 250-bedroom budget Etap Hotel
  • 2011 – 200-bedroom Express by Holiday Inn hotel as part of a mixed-use development opposite Warwickshire Cricket Club
  • 2012 – The £600m Martineau Galleries, a mixed-use development with apartments, restaurants, gastro bars, offices, shops and a hotel scheduled
  • 2013 – Four or five star hotel in a skyscraper Regal development on Sheepcote Street
  • 2016 – 12,000sq ft of conference space and 220 bedroom four star Hotel La Tour at Eastside

Source: Marketing Birmingham

Quick hospitality stats:

  • The period 2004-08 saw a decrease in hotel occupancy by 6%, but during that same period hotel room stock had increased by 6.5% and bed spaces by 9%
  • Hotel occupancy in the city has suffered during recession but it is well placed to recover quickly. Since August 2009, for instance, occupancy has been the same or higher than in 2008, reaching a high of 73% in November
  • According to the Birmingham STEAM report 2008, there were 1.864m tourists in serviced accommodation, up 2% on 2007, drawing in revenue of £435m 
  • Accommodation supports 1,932 FTE workers and F&B supports 7,202 FTE workers

Source: Marketing Birmingham

General living

In 2007, Birmingham was ranked as the 55th most-liveable city in the world, according to the Mercer Index of worldwide living standards.

Property

Property type Average price
Detached £301,618
Semi-detached £152,820
Terraced £119,829
Flats £122,839

Highest value areas

Area Zed-Index
B94 (Solihull) £398,995
B93 (Solihull) £343,816
B91 (Solihull) £315,595
DY7 (Stourbridge) £291,211
B74 (Sutton Coldfield) £285,620
B15 (Birmingham) £282,259
B48 (Birmingham) £280,554
B47 (Birmingham) £248,945
CV8 (Coventry) £242,623
WV5 (Wolverhampton) £234,380

Lowest value areas

Area Zed-Index
B7 (Birmingham) £84,145
B19 (Birmingham) £89,451
WV2 (Wolverhampton) £91,036
WS2 (Walsall) £92,782
B21 (Birmingham) £95,595
B35 (Birmingham) £96,668
B6 (Birmingham) £98,688
WV1 (Wolverhampton) £100,383
B8 (Birmingham) £102,756
WS10 (Wednesbury) £105,095

Source: Zoopla.co.uk

*The Zed-Index! is the average home value in a given area based on current Zoopla.co.uk Estimates.

Travel and commuting

Getting there and away is no problem. Birmingham is connected to all major UK cities via the M6, M40, M42 and M5 motorways, which run past the city. The city also boasts 25,000 parking spaces.

Birmingham Airport provides domestic and international links and there is a direct train link from the airport to the city.

The main stations are New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street. Eight local railways connect different parts of the city as well as link with other cities and towns. The Midland Metro light rail system links Birmingham Snow Hill to Wolverhampton, via West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston and there are plans to expand the service further.

A one week season ticket for bus, rail and Metro will cost:

  • Zone 1                £18.20
  • Zones 1-2            £19.30
  • Zones 1-3            £21.10
  • Zones 1-4            £22.70
  • Zones 1-5            £24.60
  • Outer Zones 2-5   £21.10

Source: Network West Midlands

The city is also well served by buses, taxis and even water taxis on the canal system and local government is encouraging people to cycle around the local parks.

Culture, tourism and nightlife

Birmingham is a 24/7 city with 1,000 shops, world-class restaurants, stylish hotels and a buzzing nightlife. A three-day Taste of Birmingham event will showcase some of the best cooking in the city from 16 July.

Cultural attractions include:

  • Live music in the Jewellery Quarter
  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
  • Waterhall Gallery
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Eating and drinking

Eating

Meanwhile, the city offers at least 200 restaurants serving roughly 27 different cuisines. In addition there is the “Balti Triangle” — the British base of the famous Balti cuisine.

Most of the newest or best-known restaurants and bars are in the shopping and leisure developments of Brindleyplace, Broad Street and the Mailbox. Check out every style of restaurant from Japanese delicacies at Shogun Teppan-Yaki to brasserie fare at Bar Epernay.

Chefs

Besides being in striking distance of the culinary enclave of Ludlow, Birmingham has three Michelin-starred restaurants, the highest density outside London:

Drinking

If drinking and dancing is your gig, then rest-assured that every type of pub and bar is represented in Birmingham, from the trendy Revolution bar chain to real ale pubs, from gay bars to comedy venues. The same goes for the club scene, which include warehouse clubs, secret jazz clubs and chic nightclubs.

A few venues that stand out include:

  • Risa, winner of the city’s Best Bar None Award in 2008, is a nightclub and bar
  • Island Bar, between the Mailbox and Arcadian, was voted 29th in the top 50 bars in the UK by the Independent
  • Gatecrasher Birmingham, devised in Ibiza and voted number one club by MixMag

(Some information taken from Visit Birmingham)


Job searches

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 - Latest contract catering jobs in Birmingham
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