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How to find a job in London

Despite having more career opportunities than other parts of the UK, London has a relatively higher unemployment rate. This remained at 4.5 percent in March 2020, compared to the UK unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. During the Covid-19 pandemic, London’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 percent in June 2020, the highest in the UK.

The London economy, on the other hand, is expected to return, with positive growth rates of 1.4 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022.

London’s economy is varied, and there are excellent opportunities in skilled sectors such as finance (particularly in the financial district, the so-called Square Mile in the City of London, and Canary Wharf) and technology.

Jobs in ICT, creative and media, science and technology, and senior management. There are also numerous opportunities in hospitality, retail, nursing, education, government administration, transportation, and construction.

London job opportunities

Since 2011, the number of businesses in London unable to hire staff due to skill shortages has almost doubled. The following industries have experienced the most serious shortages in recent years:

  • Construction
  •  NHS jobs
  •  Retail
  •  Engineering
  •  finance

However, competition for jobs in London is ferocious, with hundreds of applications for a single position. Furthermore, as a result of Brexit, the UK government is implementing new policies and restrictions on the number of foreign employees coming to the UK

Workplace culture and climate in London

London is a vibrant, multicultural city, and the workplace and multicultural workforce represent this. Inner London’s workforce is highly educated, with approximately 60% holding university degrees. Because of the huge number of educated candidates on the market, graduates are increasingly working in non-graduate jobs. In London, around 60% of positions are full-time, while 38% of positions are part-time.

Traditional, big firms are more formal in both clothing (suits and smart clothes) and atmosphere (friendly but business-like), while younger, creative businesses, such as digital and media firms, are more casual in both (think no dress codes and table tennis in a loft workspace).

Workers in London are entitled to a minimum wage, and many earn the London Living Wage of £10.75 per hour.

Work permits and visas

Currently, EU/EFTA citizens may enter the UK without a visa or work permit. This is set to change on January 1, 2021, when the UK formally exits the EU. EU/EFTA citizens will be treated the same as third-country nationals as of this date.

Most third-country citizens need a visa to enter and work in the UK, though there are some exceptions. There are various visas with varying conditions; for example, highly skilled migrants require a Tier 2 (general) visa, which requires a certificate of sponsorship from an employer before entering the UK.

More details can be found in our guides to UK work visas and visas for highly skilled migrants in the UK.


To get a well-paying, skilled job in London, you must be able to speak English fluently. Because London is a cosmopolitan city with many inhabitants and tourists speaking foreign languages, knowing a language other than English can be advantageous. If you want a casual job, being able to speak English isn’t necessary, but the pay and working conditions may be subpar.

Our guide to studying English in the UK contains information on where to study English in London.

Obtaining Recognition for Your Qualifications in London

Contact UK NARIC to have your qualifications and skills accepted in London and throughout the United Kingdom.You can apply for a Statement of Compatibility online by submitting scanned copies of your academic qualifications as well as a transcript of your full academic record from your university or college. Although UK NARIC accepts documents in certain languages, you may need to have these documents translated into English by a certified translator (contact your own embassy for more information).

Job websites in London


Specialist job websites in London

  • CharityJob – various professional and admin jobs in the charity sector
  • City Jobs – banking, finance, accounting, insurance
  • CWJobs – IT

London employment departments

Most recruitment agencies specialise in a specific field, such as secretarial, accounting,nursing, catering, and information technology. To find a London recruitment agency in the right industry, consult the Yellow Pages or the Recruitment & Employment Confederation website.

If you are an executive, manager, or professional, you should consider signing up with a headhunter. Large corporations use these agencies to find qualified candidates for senior positions. There are many headhunters in London; conduct an online search for headhunters to find them.

Temping agencies specialise in putting staff in temporary positions and are an excellent way for expats to enter the London job market and try out various industries – or to position themselves to apply for full-time work if the opportunity arises. Among the top London temp agencies are:

Office-Angels work in secretarial and administrative positions, call centres, hospitality, telecommunications, and retail, among other industries.

Tate – Receptionist, admin, customer service, HR, and marketing positions.

London networking

It’s all about who you know in London – or, these days, who you tweet or follow on social media. Not only can you use social media to connect with others in your field, but headhunters also use it to find qualified candidates. They often look at LinkedIn (so keep your information up to date), but they also look at what people are doing on Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest, so make sure what you post is appropriate for potential employers to see.

Make as many contacts as you can before coming to London and as many contacts as you can while you’re here – and then use them. Make it known to everyone that you are looking for work.

Most London companies welcome speculative applications, so go for it. Always try to write to a particular person; you can find out who that is by looking on company websites or calling the company.

If you speak more than one language, include it in your CV even if it does not appear to be important to the job – being multilingual is extremely useful in multicultural London.

Make it a point to state that you are lawfully permitted to work in the UK.

Even for lower-level jobs in London, many businesses will require full CVs and covering letters, unless they have their own online application form. If you are applying for a specific job, make sure you address the points in the “person specification.”

Companies are usually overwhelmed with applications, so don’t be surprised if you don’t receive an acknowledgement. If you haven’t heard back within a few weeks of the closing date, you may contact the HR department to inquire about your application.

Consider some difficult work scenarios and how you treated them while preparing for an interview. Prepare some informative questions to ask to demonstrate your interest in the position.

If you do not get the job, you can contact the HR department to request input if you made it to the interview stage.

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