Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

Where are the UK's Most Ambitious People In 2021?

Where Are The UK's Most Ambitious People In 2021?

It's no secret that 2020 was a challenge to say the least. For many, personal and professional plans were put on hold as a result of the pandemic, leaving many people 'champing at the bit' to achieve the goals they might have set for themselves.

That's not to say we have returned to normality just yet and the next few months are set to throw up plenty of challenges. However based on new research, it's clear that the turn of 2021 has proven to be the incentive for many people to re-evaluate their ambitions for the months ahead!

With all this in mind, we wanted to find out where the UK's most ambitious people were located across the country. To do this, we spent some time crunching the numbers using Google search data* to identify the hotspots of drive and determination in January 2021.

Does your city feature on the list? Have a read below...

Bangor, Truro and Salisbury home to the most ambitious residents in 2021

Residents of Bangor in North Wales were found to be the most ambitious when it came to searching for the tools and advice online of how to achieve their goals in 2021, achieving an overall 'ambition score' of 115.89 - we will talk about how this number was calculated later.

Closely behind was Cornwall's county town and only city of Truro (50.51) and Salisbury in Wiltshire (47.04), where residents were most likely to be searching for one of the three focus keywords in this research in the run up to the new year:

  • 'How to get a promotion'
  • 'How to be successful'
  • 'How to set goals'

The top 20 list of the most ambitious cities can be found below:

Rank City Population Ambition score
1 Bangor 17,258 115.89
2 Truro 19,798 50.51
3 Salisbury 42,519 47.04
4 Chester 84,025 35.70
5 Inverness 49,448 30.33
6 Lincoln 99,299 30.21
7 Bath 93,746 26.67
8 Londonderry 88,253 22.66
9 Durham 69,547 21.57
10 St Albans 148,452 20.21
11 Cambridge 124,798 20.03
12 Oxford 152,457 16.40
13 Stirling 94,210 15.92
14 Norwich 140,573 14.23
15 Carlisle 108,678 13.80
16 Preston 147,757 13.54
17 Peterborough 202,259 12.36
18 Winchester 124,859 12.01
19 Derby 257,302 11.66
20 Exeter 131,405 11.42

Which of the four nations was the most ambitious?

When comparing the data across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it was Wales that took top spot when it came to ambitions in 2021.

Welsh residents were on average more than twice as likely to search for advice on how to achieve their personal and professional goals in 2021, compared to those throughout the rest of the UK. Each of the average nation's scores were as follows:

  • Wales: 35.12
  • Northern Ireland: 14.97
  • England: 13.20
  • Scotland: 11.70

How did we calculate the 'ambitious score'?

We analysed search volume data for the three terms 'how to get a promotion', 'how to be successful' and 'how to set goals' for the period between September and November to establish the locations where users were most likely to search for advice on how to achieve their goals.

To create the 'ambition score', the collated total search volume was cross referenced with the population size of each location to identify the number of residents per 100,000 people searching for advice in this area.

The benefits of being ambitious right now in January 2021

During such uncertain times, it's more important than ever to focus on the positives, both in the present and in future months to come and goal setting (regardless of how big or small) can be a great way of keeping focused (and in a way distracted!) from the ongoing pandemic.

Ambition is the starting point of all progress e.g. the start of movement towards a goal. When people have a positive goal, they have something good to talk about, to plan for and to act upon. When groups engage themselves in cooperative effort to achieve a positive goal, they build productive teams, they work well together, and they feel stronger and more optimistic.

So, we can conclude that ambition can often be the catalyst or the trigger of a chain reaction which leads to positive mental, physical, social and economic consequences in both a professional and personal capacity!

Six ways to make 2021 your best year ever

It's all well and good discussing the benefits of ambition, but what are the practical steps you can take to adopt this mindset in 2021?

We all want 2021 to be a lot better than 2020 and while a lot of the current situation is outside of our control, there are elements of day-to-day life that we can influence in order to achieve our desired goals. You could adopt one of these two attitudes:

  1. Trust to luck and HOPE that things get better, or
  2. CAUSE things to get better.

Avoid relying on luck - rely on your actions to dictate the story. Taking personal initiative and becoming the "causal agents" in our own lives is the only surefire way - for now at least - to directly influence the narrative of 2021. Here, Chris Farmer, leadership and management training expert and founder of Corporate Coach Group outlines six ways to adopt this approach over the coming weeks and months.

1. Set ambitious goals

In order to be successful, set goals, because success means "the achievement of a goal".

Nobody can achieve a goal they never set. So, the first step to making the best of 2021 is to set a series of high value goals, in all the key areas of our lives. Career goals, health goals, educational goals, family goals and social goals.

If you want a method to set goals - we have already pulled together a guide on how to ensure these are as effective as possible.

2. Gain new knowledge

The limits of achievements are determined by the limits of knowledge. So, in order to achieve more we must learn more. We must gain new knowledge.

The knowledge we gain should be specific to our goals. If your goal is to build a business, then learn all you can about business. If your goal is to become a police officer, then learn all you can about the role.

If you want to earn more, learn more, because knowledge is power.

3. Prioritise your time

Time is a limited resource. We each have only 24 hours per day, and we sleep through eight of them. Then we have to eat, chat to family and friends and travel. When we think about the number of productive hours we realistically have each day, then it ranges from between four and six.

During those hours, we either make progress towards the goals we set or we don't. Because productive time is so limited, it is important to prioritise tasks, and focus energy onto those tasks that will take us closer to our goals. Simultaneously we must avoid tasks (or people) who would waste our time and energy.

Identify who and what wastes your time and focus energy onto those activities that will take you where you want to go.

4. Develop your self-confidence

People attempt only what they believe they can achieve. Therefore, it is important to develop self-belief and self-confidence. Self-doubt is destructive and ultimately a barrier to success.

It is important to develop self confidence based upon a belief that you are capable of achieving any goal you set your mind to.

People with self-confidence are sure to eliminate any destructive self-talk, and they consciously psych themselves up before any important event or task. People with self confidence tend to manifest greater levels of success, so it is important to take deliberate action to build up belief in your own potential.

5. Eliminate the negatives

Everyone is affected by their environment, which includes the places we go and the people we spend time with. People and places can influence us in one of three ways - they can empower, fail to empower or disempower.

In order to be successful in 2021, it is important to identify those people and places that disempower us and to consciously limit our exposure to them. Move away from the negative influences and replace them with influences that will empower and help us to move forwards.

6. Generate abundant energy

Growth requires energy. If we want life to grow and give us more, then we need to generate more energy. Energy generation comes from developing good health habits. Good health habits mean eating well, sleeping well and exercising regularly.

  • Eat well: eat smaller quantities of higher quality foods.
  • Sleep well: 6-8 hours of sleep at regular times.
  • Exercise well: Train between 2 and 4 times per week, (and take sufficient rest-days to allow for recuperation and growth).


To establish the UK's most ambitious cities, we exported Google Keyword Planner data for September - November for the keywords 'how to get a promotion', 'how to be successful' and 'how to set goals'. Once we had the search volume for each, these were aggregated and compared to the population of each location.

The final rankings were then based on the total number of searches per 100,000 residents of each location to establish the location's overall ambition score.

Population figures were taken from ONS' estimated population dataset.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Further Reading in Goal Setting

  • How to Set Specific Goals
    Every successful person sets goals, in aspects of their life they want to succeed in. Once a goal is set, the necessary plans need to be put in place, in order to achieve it. Make the most of your life by setting up specific goals and plans.
    Read Article >
  • What are your goals for the New Year?
    Why not set out to make this your best year ever?#goals #NewYear
    Read Article >
  • Eight Part SMART Targets
    You are probably aware of the 5-part SMART module, but we believe that to make it practical, it needs to be an 8-part SMART Model. Use it to set your own goals for a better future, as well as setting, communicating and planning team goals.
    Read Article >
  • How to set goals
    Success is only achievable by setting goals. But be sure that the goal is clear and reasonable, and it has a deadline.
    Read Article >
  • How to Set Goals
    Goals are essential to success, since success means the achievement of a goal. But the first step to achieving a goal, is to actually set one in the first place! Find out how to set achievable goals with our goal-setting formula.
    Read Article >

Looking for Goal Setting, Communication and Conflict Training?

If you're looking to develop your Goal Setting Skills, you may find this Goal Setting, Communication and Conflict Training Course beneficial:

Open Training Course Pricing and Availability

4 July
London - Central
£475 +VAT
7 July
Online - Teams
£475 +VAT
20 July
£475 +VAT
3 August
Online - Teams
£475 +VAT
More dates and locations available
Save £50 on this course

Next Open Course Starts in 2 days, London - Central, places available Book Now >