For jobseekers without a degree, career prospects are looking up. We recently studied the top jobs on offer that don’t require a formal education, comparing the vacancies on offer in our UK database of over 890,000 ads.
Our analysts found there are currently over 130,000 advertised vacancies on offer across the UK in these roles. That’s nearly 1 in 7 of the total UK jobs currently available!
The pandemic was undoubtedly a difficult time for workers without a degree, who have borne the brunt of increasing job competition from graduates and other higher-skilled workers, fuelled by rising redundancies and high unemployment levels.
Unemployment among recent graduates hit 12% in Q3 2020 according to the ONS, compared to a wider youth unemployment rate incorporating lower-skilled workers of 13.6% in Q2 and Q3, and overall UK unemployment sitting at 5.0% at the time of writing.
But with the UK opening up, our data reveals jobs not requiring a degree or formal education are finally flooding back to the market. Here are 20 of the top roles currently on offer that don’t require a degree.* You can also check out our handy CareerPaths tool for more ideas on jobs that suit your skill set.
#1 Waiter, 21,492 vacancies
Waiter positions are still one of the most plentiful work options for jobseekers without a degree. You don’t need any specific courses or qualifications; the most important thing is maintaining a friendly but professional service and ensuring customers have a great experience. The best paid openings offer up to £12.50 per hour (plus tips) – but be prepared to work evenings and weekends.
See more hospitality & catering jobs
#2 Electrician, 13,412 vacancies
With advertised salaries averaging £37,838, becoming an electrician could be a lucrative career path. As well as installing power systems, lighting, data networks and security systems in homes and businesses, some sparkies specialise in areas like maintenance or machine repair. Many learn their trade on the job, with apprenticeships a popular way to train and typically lasting 2-4 years. You’ll need to work towards a recognised industry qualification like the Level 3 S/NVQ Diploma (you’ll need a different qualification if you’re in Scotland). This qualification is also available direct through a college course, as an alternative to the apprenticeship route. Electrical Careers is a great resource for more information.
#3 Cleaner, 11,853 vacancies
As offices and bricks and mortar retailers re-open across the UK, expert cleaners remain in demand. Many opportunities are through large contractors, while other cleaners are self employed and deal with smaller domestic contracts. There are also more lucrative specialist areas to consider such as hazardous waste disposal or even crime scene cleaners. Advertised salaries on offer currently average £19,479, with pay rates rising for these more niche (and potentially gruesome) roles.
See more domestic help & cleaning jobs
#4 HGV Driver, 9,526 vacancies
Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers are tasked with driving lorries and trucks from warehouses and depots to shops and customers. Hours can be long and sometimes antisocial, with drivers typically working 50-52 hours a week, often during bank holidays and weekends, however job opportunities are relatively plentiful (over 9,500 currently) with advertised salaries averaging £27,874.
You’ll need a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) driving license, a qualification which is split into two categories: C1 which allows you to drive rigid vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes, and C2 which allows you to driver rigid vehicles weighing over 7.5 tonnes. A further test allows you to drive vehicles with trailers. It’s also worth noting that HGV drivers must be over 18 years old and in possession of a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). You can train to do this role through the Army, or through an apprenticeship. If you already work for a transport employer, they may be willing to put you through the relevant courses. The Freight Transport Association and the Road Haulage Association are great resources for finding out more.
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#5 Office Manager, 8,931 vacancies
If you’re highly organised with an interest in business, an office manager role could be for you. These professionals oversee the day-to-day running of a business or office. At the time of writing, we have nearly 9,000 openings on offer for office managers, advertising average salaries of £36,974. Though many people in this role have a university degree under their belt, others acquire the experience on the job or within an apprenticeship. Another way in is by seeking a job an as office assistant and then rising up the ranks internally. The Institute of Administrative Management is a great resource for learning more.
See more admin jobs
#6 Courier, 8,602 vacancies
Couriers collect packages and documents and deliver them to customers, with advertised salaries currently averaging £32,257. Though the majority of roles are for couriers driving vans or cars, there are also opportunities on motorbikes and bicycles. Employed drivers may be supplied a delivery van, but self employed drivers will need to use their own vehicle – and of course a relevant driving license is required. You should also be prepared to work evenings and weekends, especially if you’re considering food delivery roles which serve the dinnertime rush! Check out the Institute of Couriers for more information on courier careers.
#7 Recruitment Consultant, 7,945 vacancies
You don’t need a degree for many recruitment consultant roles, but you do need great sales patter and a passion for finding people jobs. Average advertised recruitment consultant salaries sit at £29,810, and with bonuses often up for grabs if you place a candidate successfully, there are plenty of opportunities for even higher earnings within this potentially lucrative field. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) offer great advice on kickstarting a career in recruitment.
See more HR & recruitment jobs
#8 Warehouse Operative, 7,285 vacancies
Jobs for warehouse operatives have snowballed over the last year, helped by a boom in online ordering and rising e-commerce. Also known as ‘pickers’, warehouse operatives prepare orders for shipment, finding their components and packing them ready for delivery, earning average salaries of £19,283. While you don’t need any previous experience to do this job, forklift training can stand you at an advantage. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is a great resource for learning more about supply chain careers.
See more logistics & warehouse jobs
#9 Chef, 6,530 vacancies
For all the foodies out there, could being a chef be your dream job? You can enter the trade through an apprenticeship, by taking a college course such as the Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery or Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts, or simply learning on the job by getting a role as a ‘commis’ chef or kitchen assistant and working your way up. Advertised salaries average £23,774, though expect long hours and to work at evenings and weekends. It’s also worth noting there may be chances to travel; though most chef positions are within restaurants, there are also openings for chefs within the armed forces as well as seasonal opportunities on cruise ships, yachts or in ski chalets.
#10 Labourer, 5,924 vacancies
Construction labourers work on building and civil engineering sites, preparing the site for works and assisting with manual tasks. Some labourers specialise in areas like demolition, while others train on the job to specialise in a certain trade, or work their way up to site supervisor roles. Either way, you don’t need any special qualifications for this career path, though be prepared for a physically demanding role. Advertised salaries average £21,864 for labourers, with the potential to earn up to £30,000 for the most experienced workers.
See more trade & construction jobs
#11 Personal Trainer, 4,762 vacancies
Earning an average of £22,587, personal trainers specialise in helping clients get fit and lead healthier lifestyles. Generally based in gyms, although park and online-based training is growing in popularity, PTs need great interpersonal skills as well as a good understanding of fitness and health & safety. Recommended qualifications include the Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym, the Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction, and the Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness. The Register of Exercise Professionals is a great resource to find out more about the various options.
#12 Photographer, 4,002 vacancies
Creativity coupled with technical know-how are the two key components for a career in photography. Budding photographers should put together a portfolio showcasing their work, while posting pictures online and on social media can help you build an online presence. You’ll also need to be confident at editing photos, setting up lights and equipment, and working with clients to turn their visions into reality. In return, you may choose to specialise in an area like wildlife photography, fashion, or advertising. Photography can also be lucrative: camera pros can earn £44,015 for their skills – but there is a lot of competition for top paid gigs.
#13 Care Worker, 3,907 vacancies
Working as a care assistant is a great option for those who want to make a difference. You don’t need any specific qualifications, but a kind, caring attitude and patience are a must. Average advertised salaries for carers sit at £20,600, (hourly pay rates go up to £22 per hour) and jobs may be within private residences or specialist care homes.
For the inside scoop on working in care, read our interview with a recruitment manager at leading home care provider Helping Hands. We asked Abby about the typical working hours for care assistants, how to get into working in care and the top skills she looks for when hiring.
#14 Plumber, 3,718 vacancies
If you’re a dab hand with a spanner, consider a career in plumbing. There are various routes into this career, including studying relevant college courses such as the Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating, working as an apprentice, or learning the trade on the job as a ‘plumber’s mate’. Advertised salaries average £40,028, making this one of the best paid trade roles out there. You can find out more about jobs in plumbing at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering.
#15 Events Coordinator, 3,487 vacancies
There is no set pathway into the events business. Some workers study a relevant degree in marketing, communication, or events management, while other simply apply directly and learn on the job. Either way, you’ll need a good eye for detail, a head for budgets, and top notch communication skills to succeed. With advertised salaries on offer averaging £29,453, this is a great option for those with a flair for party planning and organisation.
#16 Carpenter, 3,025 vacancies
Carpentry is another area growing in demand, helped by a boom in Brits renovating their homes. Carpenters focus on woodworking, making and installing wooden fittings, fixtures and furniture. There is a fair amount of variation within the trade. Joiners are experts in making and fitting doors, windows frames, cupboards and the like, while some carpenters specialise in commercial office fit-outs, designing and making bespoke pieces for offices and shops. Others are experts at crafting larger wooden structures, such as beams and floor joists on construction sites. Some carpenters focus on restoring heritage buildings. And a lucky few work within the theatre and film industries building sets.
Advertised salaries for experienced carpenters average £35,959. While you don’t need a specific qualification or degree, you’ll need prior experience of woodworking. Many get into the trade via an apprenticeship as a site carpenter or an architectural joiner. There are also relevant college courses you can study, such as the Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery. Go Construct is a useful resource for more information.
#17 Gardener, 2,182 vacancies
Only green-fingered jobseekers need apply for the 2,000+ gardener vacancies currently available. With advertised salaries averaging £24,379, gardeners must be willing to work outside in all weathers, but the rewards can be great. Typical daily tasks include planting and growing seeds, operating machinery such as mowers, digging flowerbeds, and maintaining the health of established plants. Many gardeners learn on the job or by volunteering with local community schemes, while others study relevant college courses or join as apprentices. Professional courses are also available with the likes of The Royal Horticultural Society.
#18 Sales Assistant, 1,760 vacancies
You’ll need first class customer service skills to bag a job as a sales assistant. The job involves serving and advising customers, taking payments, and promoting products. Though many roles are shop-based, the rise in e-commerce means there are are also plenty of remote working sales assistant roles available that involve selling over the phone or online. Advertised salaries average £19,813 for sales assistant roles.
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#19 Executive Assistant, 1,668 vacancies
Executive assistants are administration experts who work to support a company’s executives or board members. Day to day tasks involve organising diaries, arranging and minuting meetings, organising travel, and dealing with inbound enquiries. It goes without saying that you need to be highly organised and professional for this role! In return, you can expect a healthy pay packet: advertised salaries for EAs currently average £33,556. Routes into the role include starting as as administrative assistant, office assistant, or junior personal assistant and working your way up. You could also consider a college course in business skills, such as the Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration. The Institute of Administrative Management is a good place to learn more.
See more admin jobs
#20 Social Media Officer, 1,613 vacancies
Do you know your Tik Tok from your Clubhouse? As more companies interact with customers and grow sales through their social media channels, workers with social media savvy are in hot demand. This isn’t something you necessarily need a degree for; showcasing your own established channels could be enough to land you one of the 1,600+ openings on offer. Advertised salaries currently average £29,014 for social media officers and we expect demand for social media experts to keep picking up pace as companies place more and more emphasis on their digital presence.
See more PR, advertising & marketing jobs
💡 Read more: The Highest Paying Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
Looking to refresh your CV? Check out ValueMyCV for tips on how to improve your CV and to find out what you’re worth in today’s jobs market.
*Advertised vacancy counts and average advertised salaries accurate as at April 2021