There are many benefits to having a job alongside your studies. It’s not just about the money – although it is helpful to have an additional source of income – having a part-time job gives you experience and skills to put on your CV.
Organisation, reliability, self-reliance, and motivation are just a handful of the qualities you could develop with a part-time job, all of which will really impress future employers.
If that’s not enough to convince you, part-time work is also a great way to meet new people and make friends and professional connections outside of the University, which can only be a good thing!
What kind of job should I get?
Some of the obvious options are the best. Retail, waiting tables and bartending are great because the shifts are so flexible. Working the odd evening or Saturday will still give you time for all of your lectures, assignments and social life.
These service industry roles are also very sociable and you often get decent discounts as well. Have a think about where you spend your money and see if they have any vacancies – supermarkets often give their staff generous discounts so you can save money on the essentials, giving you more to spend on those little luxuries, or to tuck into a savings account.
There are also lots of work opportunities, both on and off campus – contact Unitemps or local agencies for further details for jobs that may be suitable for students. This is particularly handy because they will be aware that your studies come first, so if you ever have to rearrange shifts, they are more likely to be understanding about it.
If you fancy something a little bit more unusual, mystery shopping and leafleting or promotional work can be a good way to get ad hoc cash, but do make sure you know what the arrangements are – some of these jobs are paid by commission only which means you could end up working for free!
How much should I work?
It can be tempting to work every spare hour that you have to earn as much as possible, but it’s much more important that you take care of yourself. As well as your studies and your social life, you need to give yourself time to relax. We advise that you work no more than 15 hours per week at a part-time job. If you are an international student, there may be visa restrictions around how many hours you can work per week, so make sure you check this before committing yourself to anything.
How much can I make?
How much you will make will depend upon the job you are working, as well as your age; if you are aged 18 – 21, the minimum you can earn is £6.15 per hour, for 21- 24 years olds, this is £7.70 per hour – which is the current National Minimum Wage. However if you are aged 25 or over, you may be entitled to the National Living Wage of £8.21 per hour as a minimum income (figures correct at April 2019 – these rates are likely to rise each April).
You can usually keep the majority of money that you earn, although you may need to pay Income tax and National Insurance contributions if you earn over a certain amount per month or week – these will usually be deducted through PAYE (Pay As You Earn). However, if you have paid tax and then stop working, you may be eligible for a tax refund. For further information, please see ‘Student jobs: paying tax’.