The UK has typically a popular place for jobs, with a good economy and many big cities hosting big employers. However, rules are changing following the country’s exit from the EU due to happen at the end of 2021.Job
Traineeships, internships, and volunteering in the UK
You can currently find traineeships in the UK through the European Commission Traineeships Office. However, this is only until the end of 2020 when the UK officially leaves the EU. You can also search via the UK government website.
Search for internship opportunities in the UK on AIESEC (for students and recent graduates) and IAESTE (for students in science, engineering and applied arts). Globalplacement and Go Abroad also advertise internships.
If you want to volunteer in the UK to develop your skills, you can find opportunities and search for organizations on the National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO) website. Concordia is another UK-based organization offering volunteering opportunities. For holiday volunteering opportunities, check Workaway.
The largest UK-based companies in terms of market share in 2020 are:
- Unilever (consumer goods)
- AstraZeneca (pharmaceutical)
- Royal Dutch Shell (oil and gas)
- BHP (mining)
- Rio Tinto (mining)
- GlaxoSmithKline (pharmaceutical)
- HSBC (finance)
However, public sector organizations tend to the biggest UK employers, with the NHS, the British Army, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) having the most employees in 2018.
Job vacancies in the UK
The UK government website publishes and regularly updates skills shortage occupations on its website. The shortage list in August 2020 includes:
- scientists (biochemistry, physics)
- engineers (civil, mechanical, electrical)
- IT (analysts, systems designers, programmers, web designers, software developers)
- medical (practitioners, psychologists, radiographers, nurses, vets, occupational therapists)
- education (secondary school teachers)
- graphic designers
- skilled chefs
Job salaries in the UK
The UK national minimum wage is updated each year. From April 2020, it stands at:
- £8.72 per hour for employees aged 25 and above;
- Between £4.55 and £8.20 per hour for employees aged 18–24;
- £4.15 per hour for apprentices
Average UK salaries vary greatly in the UK according to factors including job sector, region, gender, and skill level. In 2019, the median weekly salary for a full-time worker in the UK was £585. The gender pay gap stood at 8.9% in 2019.
See more in our guide to the UK minimum wage.
Work culture in the UK
Most UK companies still have distinct hierarchies with managers making most of the decisions and being very firmly in charge of teams of employees. Leading a team efficiently and having a good relationship with staff are considered important management skills.
Teamwork within the team is highly valued. It’s common for staff to go out for a drink at a pub or bar after work.
The British like meetings; lots of them. They are usually planned in advance with a set agenda and while they can be informal in tone, everyone leaves with a specific task.
Labor laws and labor rights in the UK
Employment contracts are the norm when working in the UK and every employee has the right to ask for a written contract. The contract contains the terms and conditions of your employment and cannot be amended your employer after you have signed it.
Your employment contract contain details on:
- Your weekly working hours. For full-time workers, these are typically 35-40 hours per week. The maximum working week is 48 hours, although employees can choose to work more;
- Your annual leave entitlement. This is a minimum of 28 days for full-time employees, including the eight UK public holidays;
- The notice period for termination of the contract.
Job notice periods depend on the length of period employed by the organization. It currently stands at:
- At least one week if you have employe for between one month and two years;
- One week for every year if you have worked for between 2–12 years;
- 12 weeks if you worked for more than 12 years.
Our guide to UK employment law explains more.