London is among the largest capitals on the planet and comfortably in the running to being one of our globe’s most diverse and influential cities. As such it’s in a perfect position to offer hundreds, if not thousands, of different opportunities to students seeking work, whether they are international students or not. International students are allowed to work 20 hours a week while studying, giving you the chance to gain some excellent experience that you might not get elsewhere. EU students and UK-born students can work any number of hours, as long as it doesn’t conflict with their studies.
But before you start looking, there are a few things you need to do first…
Each and every employee in the UK is required to pay tax on their earnings and pensions. If you are in official employment, then tax will be deducted automatically from your wages. If you are self-employed instead, you must keep a record of any income and expenditure to then fill an annual tax return which you can find at HM Revenue and Customs.
You are also required to pay National Insurance contributions which build up your entitlement to state benefits, though the exact amount you pay depends on your employment status. You must register for a National Insurance number as soon as you start working – to make it easier, simply apply as soon as possible, and don’t leave it until your first interview!
National Minimum Wage
The vast majority of UK workers are entitled to a minimum wage which varies depending of your age. Once you reach the age of 21, you get the full rate – check the government website for regular updates to the rate.
Finding a job in London
Like in any modern city, finding a job in London starts in the newspapers, on websites, at employment agencies or through the vast network of government-run Job Centres.
You can see 20 Quick Student Job Hunting Tips here.
Types of student jobs
If you are satisfied that your social life is as good as it can be and that you are getting all your studying done and are ready to take your exams, while still finding that you have time to spare, then doing a job on the side can be a great source of pocket money. Part-time jobs are a great way of earning money whilst also finding the time to study, and some of the most popular student jobs are in retail, hospitality and in seasonal jobs. There may even be an internship tailored to your course, of which some of these offer the National Minimum Wage and are a fantastic way of gaining work experience while paying off any student debt incurred.
If your university is campus-based, then part-time work can still be found, usually in the local shop or in jobs like giving out leaflets. During the summer, professors often need research assistants, or there may be positions available in the library. For international students, check out advice from the National Association of Student Employment Services.
Volunteering is also an option for those who want the work experience over the extra pocket money. After all, your future employer will be looking at work experience when hiring, so volunteering might be the best option for students looking to do something a bit different and stand out from the crowd after graduation.
Your university job site
Most Student Unions will have a job site, or at least a job board in the Union HQ. These jobs will be specifically targeting students and are a great place to begin your journey on the road to employment!
Have we missed anything? How did you find jobs in London as a student? Tell us in the comments. Also be sure to check out our student accommodation in London page!