What Are The Most Popular Jobs In The UK 2023?

What Are The Most Popular Jobs In The UK 2023?

When you’re making decisions about your career, it can be helpful to understand the job market. This is especially true if you’re thinking of moving to the UK for work.

Here, you’ll learn all about the most popular jobs in the UK, as well as the best-paid and most in-demand UK careers.

What is the most common job in the UK?

According to statistics from the 2021 UK census, the largest industry in the UK in terms of employment is wholesale, retail, and motor trade. 15% of UK residents aged 16+ — approximately 4.2 million people — are employed in this sector.

The next most popular industries are:

  • Health and social work (14.7%)
  • Education (9.8%)
  • Construction (8.7%)
  • Manufacturing (7.3%)

Let’s explore some of the most popular jobs within the industries above, including the average 2023 yearly salary according to Check-a-Salary, and the qualifications needed for each role.

1. Retail worker

Average salary: £21,057.97
Requirements: None

Despite the decline of high street shops in favour of online shopping, retail workers are still in high demand in the UK. Retail customer service assistants are often needed to restock products, process sales, and help customers with queries.

2. Teacher

Average salary: £35,846.77
Requirements: Undergraduate degree, postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)

Qualified teachers are in short supply in some areas of the UK. Some formal education is needed to become a teacher, so you’ll need to commit to a few years at university if you don’t yet have your undergraduate degree and/or PGCE. You’ll also need to be a fluent English speaker — find out how to learn English in the UK.

Learn more about the financial side of studying in the UK, and how to save money as a student.

3. Nurse

Average salary: £46,228.31
Requirements: Nursing degree, registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)

Nurses are an integral part of the UK healthcare system. As a nurse, you can specialise in different fields of medicine. For example, you could focus on helping children (paediatric nursing), cancer patients (oncology nursing), or pregnant people (midwifery).

4. Construction worker

Average salary: £25,658.98
Requirements: None (apprenticeships may be beneficial)

Construction workers help build the UK’s infrastructure. While no formal qualifications are needed, there are certain skills that can help you become successful in construction. This includes health and safety awareness, first aid, and relevant college courses or apprenticeships.

5. Engineer

Average salary: £65,026.33
Requirements: Engineering degree

Engineering is a specialist skill, which means engineers command a high average salary. There are several different engineering subsectors you can work in, including civil engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, and mechanical engineering.

6. Care assistant

Average salary: £22,989.29
Requirements: None

Care assistants are essential for providing help and support to vulnerable people in the community, such as elderly people and those with disabilities. No qualifications are required to become a care assistant, though you can acquire skills and certificates on the job.

7. Waiter/waitress

Average salary: £17,804.77
Requirements: None

The hospitality industry relies on waiters and waitresses to run smoothly, especially in restaurants, cafes, and bars. Because no qualifications are needed, these roles can be competitive. So previous experience is a plus.

8. Software developer

Average salary: £44,467.04
Requirements: Undergraduate degree

Those with a computer science degree (or another similar qualification) are well-suited to becoming software developers. Software developers are responsible for building computer programmes. You’ll need an excellent working knowledge of relevant coding languages.

9. Administrator

Average salary: £22,284.10
Requirements: None

Administrators and administrative assistants can work in almost any industry. These jobs allow you to develop lots of transferable skills, and there’s plenty of scope to develop these skills and move into more senior roles.

10. Paramedic

Average salary: £32,943.44
Requirements: Paramedic qualification

Paramedics are often first on the scene when there’s a medical emergency. So you’ll need to be able to work well under pressure, and have a relevant healthcare qualification that enables you to work as a paramedic.

Which industries are growing in the UK?

Over the last decade, there’s been a shift in which UK industries employ the most people. This chart compares employment numbers for each industry in 2011 and 2021:

The following industries have seen a substantial boost in employment demand over the last ten years:

  • Computer programming
  • Healthcare
  • Social work
  • Building and landscape services

If you’re thinking of training for a new role, opportunities in these sectors are likely to increase over the next few years.

Which professions earn the most in the UK?

According to 2023 research by SaveTheStudent, the highest paid jobs in the UK are:

  • Chief executives — £79,835
  • Marketing, sales, and advertising directors — £77,695
  • IT directors — £73,571
  • Specialist medical practitioners — £68,614
  • Headteachers — £66,686
  • PR and comms directors — £66,510
  • Finance managers and directors — £64,193
  • Pilots and air traffic controllers — £62,778
  • Functional managers and directors — £61,139
  • Senior police officers — £59,141

All these roles require extensive experience and training, so it often takes time to work your way up to these salaries.

Which jobs are most in-demand in the UK?

If job security is one of your top priorities, it can help to set your sights on an in-demand role. Here are the top ten jobs on LinkedIn’s UK Jobs on the Rise list:

  1. Customs officer
  2. Machine learning engineer
  3. Import specialist
  4. Business development representative
  5. Chief HR officer
  6. Site reliability engineer
  7. Sustainability manager
  8. Career counsellor
  9. Content designer
  10. Client solutions manager

Many of these jobs centre around developments in technology, sustainability, employment, and international relations. So if you’re interested in working in any of these fields, consider training for one of these highly sought-after roles.

Save for training and development

Thinking of retraining for a new role, or planning to ask for a promotion? Courses and other types of training could be lucrative in the long run, but you may need to pay for them in the meantime.

Joining a money club with your friends and family is a great way to start building up funds to contribute towards a course or development programme that will help you progress in your career. Find out how to start your contributions with your community.

Learn more about working in the UK

Find out more about UK jobs, work, and careers in our Learning Hub resources:

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