Finding Work in Oxford | The Careers Service Finding Work in Oxford – Oxford University Careers Service
Oxford logo
Overview of the local job market

Whether you are looking for a short-term position after finishing your degree, or looking for longer-term work, Oxford and the surrounding area can be an attractive option as there are some major employers in the area. However, there can be a lot of competition to secure a position in some of the popular employment sectors, and you may need some help to find out about job vacancies and opportunities if you have only lived in Oxford as a student. You may also have to convince prospective employers about your (positive) reasons for staying in Oxford, whilst also giving some thoughts to your long-term plans.

Types of job

There are a number of sectors that are well represented locally; details of some are given below.

Scientific and technical work

Oxfordshire is one of Europe’s leading centres of enterprise, innovation and scientific knowledge. There is a range of local science parks, including the Oxford Science Park – home to over 60 science and technology-based companies (of which 43% are bioscience, 31% are IT and 26% are other business sectors); Harwell Science and Innovation Campus – home to around 200 science and technology-based organisations, including research institutes, commercial companies and start-ups; Milton Park Innovation Centre in Abingdon, and Begbroke Science Park near Oxford – home to materials-based spinout companies.

There are also some major scientific employers based in the county. Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is home to the largest scientific facility to be built in the UK for 30 years – the Diamond Synchrotron Light Source. Nuvia Limited (formerly RWE Nukem) has one of its sites at Harwell, and close to Abingdon at Culham you will find the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, CCFE (formerly known as UKAEA Culham).

Science Oxford, aims to encourage the study, application and communication of science, technology and engineering. They are involved with networks and events for high-tech businesses and also work with schools to encourage the pursuit of science. Check their website for voluntary opportunities that arise.

Connected Oxford not only lists local vacancies (with a significant number in science & technology), but also highlights relevant news items across the region of which many are relevant to this sector. Digital Oxford was formed in 2015 to support the digital industry in Oxfordshire and encourage the sharing of ideas and knowledge, and their listings of local vacancies include many technical roles.

Education

Oxford is home to two universities, a college of Further Education (City of Oxford College), numerous other colleges, schools and nurseries, and is home to many language schools, where students can come to learn English. Together these establishments offer a wide range of opportunities, not only in teaching, but also in administration, library work, promotion, marketing, and student support functions. University vacancies are advertised through their websites and the local press. There are also many tutorial colleges and agencies in Oxford – a list of these can be found in the Yellow Pages.

Publishing

Oxford University Press employs staff over two main sites in the UK; its main offices are based in central Oxford and the distribution centre is in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

In scientific publishing, Elsevier Science, based in Kidlington, and Wiley (which now owns Blackwell Publishing) are two of the largest, but there are other science publishers and other specialist publishing companies throughout the county, such as MacMillan Education in Cowley and GTI. A local recruitment agency, Inspired Selection, specialises in the publishing sector.

Public sector

Oxfordshire County Council is the largest employer in the county. Visit their website and Oxford City Council, as well as other local district councils. Thames Valley Police is another major local employer and advertises for civilian as well as non-civilian roles.

NHS

The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest NHS teaching trusts in the country. The Trust comprises three hospitals – the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals in Headington and the Horton Hospital in Banbury. There are many diverse opportunities available within the NHS worth investigating, – visit their website and NHS Jobs for all kinds of roles.

A number of major research institutes are hosted on the Trust’s sites, including the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. To find out more about medical research opportunities, visit the main University recruitment site.

Museums, galleries, libraries

Oxford and the surrounding area are home to many libraries, but also a number of museums, galleries and other arts facilities. Some vacancies are advertised through the public sector websites for Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, and others via the University. One of the best ways to find out about museum opportunities and gain experience is to volunteer.

Graduate Recruiters

A number of local employers from diverse sectors recruit regularly through the Careers Service. In the business and commercial area they include OXERA, Frost & Sullivan and Oxford Analytica. Oxfam also recruits into its internship scheme, although competition is fierce, and Ricardo AEA Ltd (formerly AEA Technology) sometimes recruits scientists and engineers for a graduate intake. Although a major local employer, graduate opportunities with BMW tend to be based in Bracknell, Berkshire. Grant Thornton recruit accountancy trainees into their Oxford and Banbury offices and Reed also take on trainee recruitment consultants. RM is the UK’s leading provider of software systems and services to UK education – their graduate scheme has positions at the Head Office in Abingdon. Unipart also has its Head Office in Oxford.

Voluntary work

There is a wide range of voluntary opportunities in the county. From running a charity shop to encouraging more people to visit a museum, there could well be an opportunity for you to undertake full-time or part-time voluntary work if you wish to stay near Oxford and are financially able to do so. Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, produces a directory of voluntary organisations and opportunities. You can also research opportunities using websites such as Do-it.org and Volunteering. Oxford Hub, is the focal point for charitable activity at Oxford University. Through events, website and office, the Oxford Hub connects students with causes, and makes it easy for you to get involved.

Temporary work

A quick walk around the centre of Oxford should reveal a number of recruitment agencies advertising temporary work and among them is the university’s  Temporary Staffing Service. You can sign up to these to get short-term assignments. Before using this approach, it may be necessary for you to get your IT, typing or other administrative skills up to scratch, so be realistic about what you have to offer, and tailor your CV for particular roles. Register with several agencies and keep in touch with them rather than rely on them to always contact you. Make sure that you respond quickly to any contact from them.

Self-employment

There are a number of local organisations that can help you if you are thinking about setting up your own business. Oxfordshire Business Enterprises Ltd. provides a free and confidential counselling service, which can start as soon as you have formulated your business idea. For further ideas see our webpage on Entrepreneurship.

Finding jobs

So where do you start if you want to find a job in the Oxford area? Well, much the same as if you were going to think about finding work in any location. You need to think about what you have to offer an employer, the local employment scene, and what you are looking for. Do you want an opportunity to gain work experience, a chance to earn some cash to support you while you look for something else (or save up to go travelling) or a longer-term position that fits in with your career plans? Use some of the suggestions above and make use of local resources, such as Oxford’s JobCentre Plus, (7 Worcester Street, OX1 2BX, tel: 0345 604 3719) or Oxford Central Library which is temporarily located in the Castle Quarter (tel: 01865 815509).

Use local newspapers and recruitment agencies. The Oxford Times is published on a Thursday and has a job supplement, as does the Oxford Mail, which is a daily evening newspaper. A monthly supplement to the Oxford Times – In Business – gives current information on the local business scene. The Oxford Mail organises a Job Fair in the Town Hall, usually in September and February. Daily Information also advertises both short and long-term vacancies. Connected Oxford lists vacancies along with local events. Check the vacancies on our website by logging in to CareerConnect; you can search by the location Oxfordshire. Also attend our OX Postcode Fair which brings together employers from all over Oxfordshire with vacancies for full-time jobs or internships.

If you have a specific sector in mind, consult local business directories such as the Oxfordshire Business Directory and take a more speculative approach to seek out unadvertised vacancies. See our speculative applications webpage for more advice about this approach. For some sectors, joining a local group such as a branch of a professional body can provide some useful networking possibilities.

External resources

Sources of vacancies

Local recruitment agencies

This information was last updated on 21 November 2017.
Loading... Please wait
Recent blogs about Finding Work in Oxford
This page displays current related blog posts. If none display, you can still stay up-to-date with our newsletter sent regularly to all Oxford students.

Older posts can be found in our archive of past blogs.