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A guide to jobs in London

Published: Wednesday 27th May 2015

London is one of the world’s most industrious cities. For centuries it has been at the forefront of innovation across many different sectors and that is still represented today in the number of people from all over the world who are looking for jobs in London. It’s easy to see why people are attracted to the city. For the 4.26 million people working in London, it means being right at the heart of things, in a metropolis regarded throughout the world as one of the great capital cities. Today, the total number of workforce jobs is 5,620,000, which is 4% higher than this time last year. If you are looking to work in London, you will have to be willing to work hard. According to the latest ONS statistics, the highest average actual weekly hours worked, for the twelve months ending December 2014, were in London, at 33.6 hours and lowest in the South West, at 31.2 hours.

Jobs in London

The highest proportion of workforce jobs in the service sector was in London, at 91.7%, which is a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the previous quarter. There was a large increase in the number of jobs in London within electricity, gas, steam and air condition supply. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of jobs in this industry rose 19% this year, compared to last year’s statistics. 

The motor vehicle wholesale and retail trade is still experiencing growth. This sector saw a 12% rise of jobs in the London area last year, and a further 8% growth this year. One of the industries in which the number of jobs dipped in London was agriculture, forestry and fishing, in which only around 2,000 people are employed.  Mining and quarrying also saw a 4% dip. The amount of jobs in human health and social work experienced a 5% fall. The construction sector is doing well, with a 12% increase in jobs since last year. The number of jobs in manufacturing experienced a slightly more modest rise, with 2,5%. The biggest decrease was noticed in the amount of jobs offered to people who were employed by households. This sector now has 54% fewer people employed than this time last year.

Tower ben in London, jobs in London. Working and living in London concept.

Driving jobs in London

From tube drivers to couriers, riverboat operators and pilots to upmarket chauffeurs and those driving the famous red buses, the capital is brimming with driving jobs. People have had driving jobs in London for quite a long time. Way back in the 19th century driving jobs in London were pretty much contained to horse-drawn buses, carriages and omnibuses. Over the years more types of transport found their way into the city. Underground railways, trams, motorised buses, metros and cars all brought new ways to get people and goods around the city and each brought new job opportunities. 

There are many taxi drivers in London. If you enjoy driving and think you know London like the back of your hand, then working as a London taxi driver could be the perfect driving job for you. However, it takes a lot of know-how before you get behind the wheel of those famous black cabs. But if taxi’s aren’t quite your thing, you can read about other driving jobs in London.


The unemployment rate for people aged 16 and over for the UK was 5.5%, for the period February 2015 to April 2015. This has decreased by 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous period. According to the ONS, the British region with the highest rate was the North East, at 7.4%. This was also the region with the highest unemployment rate, for the same period last year, at 9.7%. The next highest unemployment rates were  in Yorkshire and The Humber, at 6.9% and Wales and the West Midlands, both at 6.4%. The regions with the lowest rate were the South East, at 4.1%, the South West, at 4.2% and the East of England, at 4.4%.

Manager with laptop and smart phone, London City Hall

Property market

If you are working in London or looking for a job in London, you may be wondering what the property market is doing. According to the latest House Price Index, the average price of a property in the United Kingdom is now £183,861, which is a 4.6% change on the previous year. The average house price in the capital is now £488,782, with an annual change of 8.3%. The cost of living is higher in London than most other cities. Consumer prices are just over 20% higher in the capital than in Manchester for example, and local purchasing power is lower in London despite an average monthly disposable salary of £1,953.29.

Because of the high costs of living in London, a growing number of workers (322,000 in 2014) are opting to live outside of the capital and commute to work, or to work near to London, rather than joining the 563,000 commuters who arrive into London stations in the weekday morning rush.

How to find jobs in London

Job boards and apps like Zoek can help you find a job in London.  But it’s also important to remember that employers value enthusiasm, which means you should never be afraid to make a speculative approach. If there are no current vacancies then ask if the employer will let you know when one does come up. If calling in person, don’t forget to take some copies of your CV with you.  London is home to several annual job fairs, such as the London Job Show, the London Graduate Fair and Skills London. Attending a job fair is a great way to access a concentrated pool of information, advice and contacts. You’ll get the most out of job fairs if you make the effort to speak to exhibitors, ask questions and show enthusiasm.

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