- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals London Guide (PDF)
Expats moving to London for job opportunities will find that the UK capital has a diverse business environment. From bankers to fashion designers, computer specialists to graphic designers – expats from a variety of backgrounds will find that there are many opportunities for career advancement in the city.
Working in London is both a challenging and rewarding experience for ambitious expats looking to build their careers and gain valuable experience. Each year people from across the world are attracted to the city to offer their skills and expertise in exchange for career progression opportunities and experiences.
London is one the world’s leading financial centres for international business and commerce. The city is the economic powerhouse of the UK and generates almost a quarter of the UK’s GDP.
Businesses in London come in all shapes and sizes. From large multinationals to small and medium-sized companies and social enterprises, the business landscape of London is fertile ground for all types of companies.
Job market in London
London has an overwhelmingly service-based economy. Historically, the dominant industry in the city is finance, but the media industry has a strong presence here too. The BBC is a key employer in the city and a number of other broadcasters also have headquarters around the city, while many of the UK’s national newspapers are also based in London.
Creative industries such as film, design and fashion are thriving in London. The city is home to the European headquarters of a number of the world’s leading advertising and digital agencies, and the city's technology sector has grown markedly too.
Naturally, tourism has also played a significant part in London’s economic success – and the industry is one of the top employers in the city – as the capital attracts international tourists in their droves each year.
London is home to a number of internationally renowned universities, and many experts in fields such as biotechnology and the life sciences come to the city for its world-class research facilities. Medicine and engineering are also prominent sectors.
Finding a job in London
Expats who want to move to London are advised to secure a job offer before arriving in the UK. Even expats from the EU who are legally allowed to enter the UK and search for work while in the country will benefit from having a confirmed job offer. Those looking to take up unskilled jobs may struggle to earn a good salary that is in line with the high cost of living in the city.
Expats will find that the recruitment processes in the UK are usually fair, transparent and based on equal opportunities. That said, networking is key in London, as recommendations and referrals will get expats a foot in the door. Having a personal business network can also help alert job seekers to upcoming vacancies and offer candidates a head start in the application process.
Before arriving, it's best to do some research on job opportunities within one's industry. There are a number of avenues to peruse. Online job portals, including sites such as LinkedIn, as well as online listings on the websites of local newspapers, give a good idea about the job market. Expats working in a niche industry will find that there are many specialist recruitment agencies available online.
All expats from outside the EU hoping to take up a job offer in London need to have a work permit to legally work in the capital.
►The Doing Business in the UK page is essential reading for any expat entrepreneur
Are you an expat living in London?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to London. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.