Working in London: Good Jobs for London Newcomers


So, you're here, but you don't know what to do. It's a big city, with lots of choices. We understand. That's why we've come up with a guide* to help you. Here, you can get some ideas of where to look for different kinds of jobs, and what areas of London are known for certain kinds of jobs...

Financial & The City
Hotel & Catering
Leisure & Tourism
Public Sector

*Please Note: This information should be used as a guide, only, as different business industries have varied rules and regulations...


London is well known for having some great administrative jobs available, especially if you're looking to get your foot in the door for advertising, finance, media fields. The pay is respectable, and you'd generally be working normal business hours.

Jobs: Administrative Assistant, Secretary, Receptionist, Personal Assistant (PA), Office Manager
Places: General London, but particularly Canary Wharf, The City, Central London and Soho for higher wages.
Hours: Generally normal business hours, Monday through Friday.
Pay: Between UKP7 and UKP15 per hour, depending on experience, company and area of London
Requirements: Many companies and recruitment agencies require previous experience, but other skills include Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, fast typing skills, switchboard experience, and/or shorthand. You will likely also be required to have good written and spoken English.
Benefits: Lots of companies provide pension schemes, good holiday, private health care and company discounts. You'll also be in a predictable, stable environment, in case you're not up for surprises.
Disadvantages: Good positions are snapped up quick; you might be everyone's fall guy; there is little day-to-day variety; and it's difficult to branch out into different career paths, once started.
Other Resources: Secs In The City, LondonNet Administrative Jobs, Just London Office Manager Jobs

Financial & The City:

The prominent UK Pound is all you need as evidence of London's financial merit. It is the financial center of Europe, tied to both UK & European industries and economies. The Investment Banking hub of Canary Wharf, combined with the many large firms of The City, make London a fiscal powerhouse, and jobs heavily vied for. If you've an economics or finance degree, a fierce drive and a hunger for the top, London is a great place for you. Still, if you're reading this, you might already be behind the herd: most financial jobs are won through academic internships, head-hunters, or knowing someone at the top.

Jobs: Financial Analysts, Auditor, Accountants, Bankers, Traders
Places: Canary Wharf, The City
Hours: "Work hard, and enjoy," said one Financial Analyst. Although most banking firms hold claim to normal business hours, it is a nudge-wink truth that late nights and groggy, early mornings are a necessity for getting along in this industry.
Pay: Anywhere between UKP30k and UKP1mil, depending on how high you've climbed the ladder. Bonuses are excellent.
Requirements: Financial, economic or accountancy degrees are a must, and most companies require significant experience alongside a lightning-fast business sense and dogged work ethic. Shrewdness is an optional plus.
Benefits: Whoah, money. If you keep your head up in this industry, you're likely to be feeling financial free by the end of it - which will likely come sooner than you think, as many IBs retire early. You're also likely to snap up a company car, significant holiday time, and a pretty office in a really tall building. You'll work alongside some relatively smart, successful people, to boot.
Disadvantages:Time is fleeting in the financial work, as it seems 24 hours is just not enough time for a day. Most IBs are working long, difficult hours, which means other parts of their lives are put on hold. Plus, as one Financial analyst says, "People are quite harsh. The pay is so well because people take on big responsibilities, but they are also quite harsh."

Other Resources: The Financial Times, LondonNet Accounting/Financial/Insurance Jobs, BBC Market Data (for watching the markets), and of course the FTSE 100

Hotel & Catering:

A city brimming with hotels, with events nearly every evening, for every purpose, London has no shortage of hotel and catering jobs. Respectable money, good coworkers, and clean, comfortable work makes jobs in the hotel and catering industry a good bet for London newcomers.

Jobs: Receptionist, porter, waiter, chef (depending on skill), bar/restaurant manager, housekeeping
Places: Central London, at the most expensive hotels, likely pay the best, although they are also most difficult to get.
Hours: Minimum wage to
Pay: Generally minimum wage to UKP12 for managerial roles
Requirements: Managerial roles often require degrees or appropriate experience, and reception and customer service jobs often require good personal skills.
Benefits: Hotel and catering jobs are known for having good coworkers, being clean, steady jobs and getting well-tipped.
Disadvantages: Any housekeeping or porter roles are manually laborious, while catering roles have strict food regulations and often require someone to be on their feet for a significant time.

Other Resources: Hotel Jobs,, LondonNet Hotel Jobs, LondonNet Catering Jobs

Leisure & Tourism:

London has a wealth of leisure and tourism attractions, and the best way to tap into tourism is to be a part of it. Leisure & tourism jobs are aplenty, and great for people who are looking to earn some quick quid without too much thinking.

Jobs: Customer Service Assistant, Hospitality Co-ordinator, Retail Manager, Security
Places: Generally central London, although touristy-bits are all over greater London.
Hours: Normal business hours, plus nights and weekends.
Pay: Generally minimum wage
Requirements: You probably will need to have worked a cash register, have customer service skills, and be excited about whatever attraction you're working at. Other than that, people of all skills take on tourism jobs.
Benefits: Tourism & leisure jobs usually rake in people of all persuasions, and are a good way to meet other travellers. They are also easy, often mindless, but relatively enjoyable since customers are excited to be there.
Disadvantages: If you're not into crowds, crying babies or angry customers, you're probably not going to like any jobs in the tourism industry.

Other Resources: Madame Tussauds, London Eye, LondonNet Leisure & Tourism Jobs

Public Sector:

Jobs in the public sector include health, community and social services, and goverment employment. All are relatively well-paid, stable jobs with generally good benefits.

Jobs: Nurse, LPN, Hospital administrator, social worker, council support worker
Places: All of London
Hours: Normal business hours, possible night and weekend shifts, depending on profession.
Pay: UKP12,000 - UKP30,000 per year
Requirements: Degrees are required in various professions, but city-council work is varied.
Benefits: Public sector industry jobs are generally well-paid and stable jobs, with a shortage in some areas meaning wages are shooting up and recruitment becoming more fervent.
Disadvantages: The public services are often hounded by bureacratic standards, funding shortages and public criticism, so be prepared for a fair amount of sticky red tape.

Other Resources: NHS Jobs, The Social Worker, LondonNet Public Sector Jobs


Oh, city of shops; blessed rows of sparkling clothes. London is the shopping centre of the UK, and - God Bless It - they do flog something fantastic. Retail jobs are good for discounts, coworkers, and keeping in with the fashion elite.

Jobs: Retail assistant, manager
Places: Central London
Hours: Normail business hours, plus some nights and weekends
Pay: Minimum wage
Requirements: Customer service skills, previous retail experience, style.
Benefits: Retail jobs are good if you're working for the store you covet, or with the people you dress yourself like. Good for students or people who have other things going on, retail jobs are also easy.
Disadvantages: If you're not a bibliophile, don't bother working for a bookstore. Same goes for other areas where your interest wanes, as selling stuff you don't enjoy gets old fairly quick. Also, be aware of snobbish customers, commission goals and boorish bosses.

Other Resources: Oxford Street and LondonNet Retail Jobs