The Ultimate Guide to Living and Working in Glasgow

By August 24, 2018For Talent, Other

Is it time to up sticks and make a change? For our latest ultimate guide, we decided to look at bonnie Scotland and the city of Glasgow.

Based on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest, busiest and probably friendliest city.

A once famous industrial centre, the city has seen a resurgence in recent years with growth in many different sectors including digital technology, tourism and the creative arts.

Glasgow and its surrounding areas have a population of approximately 2.8 million residents, roughly 42% of the Scottish population.

So, if you want to make the move and experience that famous ‘’Scottish patter’’ first hand make sure you read our guide first.

Average commute

In Scotland, the average amount of time that people spend on public transport is 60 minutes. Which doesn’t seem so bad when you compare it to London (84 minutes) and Paris (64 minutes). Over 61% of these travellers spend more than two hours on public transport every day.

According to Moovit insights, the average wait at a stop or station is 14 minutes, while 19% of people wait over 20 minutes.

So how far are Glaswegians travelling? Not far. In fact, the average journey to work is a mere 9.4 km. Let’s take a look at how they are getting there.

Image courtesy of Artur Kraft.

Public transport


Glasgow has a subway line with 15 stations. The trains run every five minutes at peak times and it takes just 24 minutes to complete a circuit of all the stations. Tickets start from just £1.40 or you can get a Subway Smartcard.


Glasgow Central Station links Glasgow by rail to the South, with Glasgow Queen Street Station operating routes mainly to Edinburgh and the North. You can find out more information including timetables on the Scotrail website.


Regular bus services in the city centre are run by First Glasgow. You can buy tickets when you board the bus. Short journeys into town usually cost £1.60 or £2.30 and you must have exact change. A day ticket costs £4.50 or a weekly ticket costs £17.


Cycling is a cheap and quick way to get around the city. Nextbike Glasgow has 400 bikes for hire in 43 locations around Glasgow. These bikes are available 24/7 and you can rent a bike using the app.


Glasgow is a digital tech heavyweight. The city’s numerous universities provide a steady stream of the best talent. A wide range of digital tech sectors are represented in the city, from fintech to e-commerce and from social networking to enterprise software.

A report from Tech Nation found that the number of jobs in the industry hit 48,448 in 2017, up 8% from 2016. The tech sector in Scotland is worth £3.9bn with digital tech turnover per employee reaching £80,000, according to the report.


Glasgow is one of Europe’s leading financial centres. In fact, Scotland’s financial industry has outperformed London’s in the job creation stakes according to a report by The CityUK.

Most of Glasgow’s finance sector is based around the IFSD. This includes companies like JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and BNP Paribas.


The city has a booming creative industry which includes theatre, art, music and media. Glasgow is home to 124 TV production companies. The city is also currently responsible for just over 80% of Scotland’s TV turnover and 76% of direct employment according to a report for Creative Scotland.

Glasgow has been a UNESCO City of Music since 2009 and has hosted the MOBO Awards in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2016.


Glasgow’s success as host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the development of its tourism industry has helped boost the city’s visitor numbers along with hotel occupancies. As a result, the hospitality sector is booming.

There is also a nationwide hospitality skills shortage in Scotland which makes this sector particularly appealing to people hunting for jobs.

Looking for a job in the UK? Check out our roles here.

UK work permits

Unfortunately, due to Brexit it is still unclear what will happen with work permits and visas in the future.

At the moment, British citizens, European Economic Area (EEA) citizens and Swiss nationals can all live and work in the UK.

People from certain countries such as Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria, may require special permission to work in the UK.

You will also need to apply for a UK residence card or be able to prove your right to work in the UK as an EU citizen. You can find out if you need a visa here.


Once you begin working in the UK you will need to apply for a national insurance number. This is used to keep track of your employment for tax purposes.

In Britain, most people pay tax through PAYE. This is a system your employer or pension provider uses to deduct income tax and national insurance contributions before they pay your wages or pension. This tax is charged by different bands depending on how much money you earn.

If you decide to move to Glasgow you will also be charged council tax. Council tax is based on the estimated value of your dwelling and the number of people living in it. Your council tax pays for your water and waste collection.


Historically rent in Glasgow has been cheaper than other UK cities. However, in recent years the city has seen a gradual rise in rent prices as the demand for properties grows. Using the latest data from Citylets we compared the average rent price in Glasgow with other major Scottish cities.

The average cost of living

Glasgow is a relatively affordable city to live in, especially when compared with other large cities in the UK. In fact, Glasgow ranks 209th out of 523 cities in the world when it comes to the cost of living.

A pint in your neighbourhood pub will set you back £3.84. Two tickets to the local cinema costs about £20 while a lunch in town will probably cost you £10 according to Expatistan.

Comparison site Numbeo estimates a litre of milk costs £0.85 in the city. If exercise is your thing a monthly gym membership will cost you £26.24 on average while a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant costs £45.

Top tips from expats

We decided to ask some people who have lived and worked in Glasgow what advice they would give to someone making the move. Here’s what they had to say.

Matthew Read, IT consultant

”Glasgow has a rough and ready reputation but don’t be alarmed. The city is one of the friendliest places that I have ever lived. Don’t be surprised if a stranger on the street talks to you. That’s just the Glaswegian way.”

Amy Watson, nurse

”Buses don’t give change and the drivers will expect you to know exactly how much your journey will cost. Ask them the price at your peril.”

Yann Rochas, freelance graphic designer

”Check what the Glaswegians are wearing. If they’re wearing a t-shirt, you need a jumper. If they have a jumper on, you need a jacket. And if they’re wearing a jacket and a scarf, you should stay inside.”

Tracey Byrne, childcare worker

” There are lots of free things that you can do in Glasgow at the weekend. Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art and the Transport Museum are all free of charge. Make sure you visit them all at least once.”

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Author Alice Murray

Alice Murray is a Content Creator at Jobbio with a passion for Employer Branding and Graduate Culture. She's a keen traveller and a self-proclaimed lazy runner.

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