- About United Kingdom
- Working conditions
- Sectors and companies that are recruiting
- Applying for a job
- Major recruitment pointers
- Recruitment Resources and networks
1. About United Kingdom
The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining and the UK became a net importer of energy in 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. After emerging from recession in 1992, Britain’s economy enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record during which time growth outpaced most of Western Europe. In 2008, however, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Sharply declining home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded Britain’s economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets; these include nationalizing parts of the banking system, cutting taxes, suspending public sector borrowing rules, and moving forward public spending on capital projects. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, the CAMERON government in 2010 initiated a five-year austerity program, which aims to lower London’s budget deficit from over 10% of GDP in 2010 to nearly 1% by 2015. The Bank of England periodically coordinates interest rate moves with the European Central Bank, but Britain remains outside the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Population: 62.7 million
GDP per inhabitant (2010): USD 34,800,-
Unemployment rate (09/10): 7.8 %
2. Working conditions
The UK offers great working opportunities, especially for people who do not require a work permit. Its flexible labour market has produced a healthy employment market in recent years, with unemployment mostly below 5%, which compares well to other EU countries.
Much economic growth is concentrated in the South-East, so you should bear in mind that regional unemployment is higher in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. There are also certain sectors where job opportunities are poor, such as manufacturing and heavy industry. If you are not eligible to work in the UK, you need to be aware it may be more difficult to obtain a permit than a job.
If you are looking for professional or well remunerated employment, high English language ability will be a requirement for the majority of positions. Depending on the type of job, qualifications may also be important (although not as important as in some countries – e.g. to work in a general business role, your experience will be taken into account ahead of whether or not you have studied business).
Legal working hours : max. 48.0 hours per week.
Length of trial / notice period: Normally one month for employees. Normally three months for managerial employees. Normally six to twelve months for executives.
Employment formalities: In order to hire a non-EU citizen and obtain a work permit, a company must demonstrate that he or she has a certain set of required skills and they do not have EU candidates for the position. It is not impossible to satisfy these conditions, but some smaller firms are simply not willing to make the effort as they are typically not short of candidates and the approval process can take 4-6 months. For senior management, IT professionals and other highly qualified positions, the conditions are much easier to fulfil and an application properly handled with the sponsorship of the employer can be processed quicker.
What is a work permit?
Work permits are issued to a specific person for a specific job. They are used to enable British employers to recruit workers from outside the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) whilst also protecting the interests of resident workers in the UK.
Do I need a work permit?
As a massive simplification, unless you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national if you intend to work in the UK you will probably need a work permit. The exceptions to this rule are extremely diverse (e.g. artists, innovators, religious ministers and au pairs are all exempt from requiring a work permit). If you think you may be in ‘permit-free’ category, it is worth looking at the detailed list from www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
How to apply for a work permit?
A UK employer wishing to employ someone needs to apply for the work permit. Applications are dealt with by the Home Office, which is the British government department responsible for their issue. It is recommended that the employer applies at least eight weeks ahead of the date from which the employee is required to start work. Supporting documentation will be required, such as evidence of the candidate’s relevant qualifications and experience for the job.
Am I an EEA national?
The following countries are members of the European Economic Area:
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
What is the Worker Registration Scheme?
You will need to register under the Worker Registration Scheme if you are working in the UK and you are a national of: CzechRepublic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, or Slovenia. If you are on the Worker Registration Scheme you will need to complete 12 months continuous employment in the UK before you have full rights of free movement. After these 12 months you can then apply for a residence permit to confirm your status.
3. Sectors that are recruiting
Infrastructure, Food, Public Sector, Energy, Healthcare.
Companies that are recruiting: Infrastructure Consultancies, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrisons, Somerfield, Co-op, GlaxoSmithKline, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco, Government. Subsidiaries of large French companies.
4. Applying for a job
Application documents: Medical checks are undertaken by the employer prior to recruitment. No special requirements for EU citizens.
Advice regarding the CV: CV in English – no more than one or two sheets. Short letter of introduction. Under current legislation it is not compulsory to include date of birth or marital status. Employer will make own reference checks. Career history to be presented in chronological reverse order. Include personal achievements in each section.
5. Major recruitment pointers
Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews:Dress appropriately. Be on time for the interview. Shake hands firmly with the recruiter and look them in the eye. Be knowledgeable about the company to whom you are applying. Be structured, coherent and enthusiastic. Be prepared to demonstrate what you have achieved in your career.
Languages you must be able to speak: An excellent knowledge of English, and a second European language preferably French and / or German.
Flagship training: Oxford & Cambridge Universities for Classics. Imperial College London for Science & Engineering. Kings College & University College London for Languages and Cultural Studies. London School of Economics for Business and Economics. Preferred Business Schools include London Business School, Cranfield, Warwick and Henley.
Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: Basic salary determined by educational background and experience. Bonus linked to both personal and company performance. Tax deducted from salary range between 0% and 40% of total earnings. Company car for most sales, marketing and commercial roles plus laptop and mobile. Normal vacation is five weeks.
6. Recruitment resources and networks
Important business networking sites:
The Foreign Consulate General in London Employment-Training Office
Where to network:
Graduate Traineeships in FTSE 100 Companies are recommended for young graduates.