Most companies in London rely on subcontracting. Instead of hiring full-time employees, they tend to recruit their staff through third-parties. While the process for obtaining an executive post might be more or less the same everywhere, it is quite different when it comes to find a student job, part-time job or a springboard. However, there are much more employment opportunities in London than there would be in Montpellier, where I am from and where the waiting time for a return after applying for a position could be eternal.
One essential step before you may start your job search is getting a National Insurance Number (NIN) which gives you the right to work in the UK. To do so, you must be in England already, have an address to provide even though it is a temporary one and call a job centre to book an appointment on the 0345 600 0643 (open from 8am until 6pm). If you are lucky, you might not have to wait for long but usually you have to wait between two and four weeks.
Things to know
-if you are under 25, your salary should be at least equal to £6.70 and if you are older than that it should be £7.20
-you are entitled to holiday pays regardless of the fact that you are working directly for a company or through an agency
-the payment of wages vary: when some companies and agencies pay their staff every week, some others might do it every ten days or at the end of the month
The advantage of employment agencies is not only that the registration is done online but also that they do not require any particular experience. Most of them expect you to attend a meeting about how they function and what are the jobs about but this won’t last more than an afternoon and there is no proper interview. Once you are registered, you can be informed of the available jobs and shifts on their website, by mail or message. Being registered in an employment agency allows you to choose when to work and when to take days off (if not holidays) but also to change of roles and environment as much as you want. You could be a cloakroom attendant at the Saatchi Gallery one day and waitress at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show the day after. Here is a partially complete list of agencies’ link : At your service; Lola Events ; Metro-hospitality ; Off to work; Re-hospitality; Salt and Pepper.
The Syft app
Once downloaded, you need to create a profile and have it verified with an appointment of 20 minutes in the company’s office. The concept is quite similar to the agencies’ process with who you can decide when and where to work. It also give you the possibility to access free training sessions and the pay per hour start from £7.20 and goes up to £20.
Food and clothing chains generally recruit staff through their own website so there is no need to move. You can have a look at some chains’ offers and apply with a single click on prêt à manger for example or on Inditex, a group of fashion retailers which include Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, Berschka and many more shops.
Even though Gumtree is known mostly for being the place where to sell second-hand stuff but also for the presence of scams, it is rich of job offers with immediate start and you can sort them according to the borough you live in.
Finding a job in an independent restaurant or shop is mostly based on word of a mouth and door-to-door. There are many groups on Facebook, especially for expatriates (I am thinking about Le Cercle Des Français à Londres ), where members share job offers and always are keen to help and advise about any issue you encounter. It is a great way to find job offers you wouldn’t have seen otherwise !