How to become a…: your top 5 job searches of 2016

Our data is in, and it turns out that your most popular roles of 2016 so far all do not require a degree. This tells us that you’re all ready to dive into the world of work before and after university, or as a choice to bypass the university route altogether. It really does pay to get the best information while you apply for work in competitive industries, so we’ve pulled together your most searched for roles in 2016 to create the following advice career guide.

Security officer

Security Office Image

Security officers are responsible for the security of a building or event, and the people and contents within that space. The role provides variety in where an officer is placed, and employees are expected to handle a range of unexpected situations.


  • Agency or contractor roles require a Security Industry Authority (SIA) front-line licence
  • Basic IT skills
  • Good level of fitness and strength
  • A clean criminal record
  • Good eyesight
  • An approachable manner, with knowledge and/or experience of customer care
  • Able to cope under pressure within unpredictable work environments.

Career progression

  • Opportunity to earn more than £40,000 in a senior or principle role
  • Extra training options, such as dog handling and first aid, may be provided by an employer
  • Experience can open up management and supervisor roles. Depending on training opportunities, many officers go on to work for the police, logistics and fraud teams.

Starting salary: £12,000 - £15,000, rising to approximately £20,000 with experience

Benefits: pension; training and salary increase opportunities; benefit packages can include compensation, depending on your employer; team orientated work environment.

Entry-level airport jobs

Entry-level Airport Jobs Image

Entry-level work in an airport is usually customer facing, with a large emphasis on customer service: catering staff, cabin crew, customer service agents, baggage handlers, ramp agents.


  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Good levels of fitness
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work flexibly
  • Customer service experience
  • Secondary education to grade C or above in maths and English (cabin crew)
  • Fluent in another language is desirable (cabin crew)

Career progression

  • Leadership and senior roles
  • Diploma certificate on Aviation Operations on the Ground.

Starting salary:  £15,000-£18,000 a year, entry level salary + allowances = £14,500 (cabin crew)

Benefits: pension; no day is the same; sociable work environment; team orientated; training opportunities; and five days off between flights, with four days of all expenses paid free time on long haul flights (cabin crew).

Sales/Shop assistant

Sales/Shop Assistant Image

If you have people skills, and drive to help others, a sales assistant role could be right for you. Sales assistant roles are available across a wide variety of industries, from seasonal and retail to food and drink and technology.


  • Customer service experience
  • Product/industry knowledge (niche markets like technology and DIY)
  • Literacy and numeracy skills desirable
  • Approachable, friendly personality
  • Good communication skills

Career progression

  • Retail training is available from apprenticeship
  • Store manage, area manager, retail consultant are some career paths available
  • Other roles include buyer, designer, distributer and merchandising manager.

Starting salary:  £11,000 - £15,000 a year

Benefits: pension; staff discounts; commission and bonus schemes; free uniform or clothing options; flexible work hours.


Receptionist Image

Do you have a welcoming and positive attitude with good organisation skills to meet and greet clients and keep a tidy diary? Front of house may suit you.


  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office suite, particularly Excel
  • Good telephone manner
  • Organised and efficient
  • Familiar with booking software desirable

Career progression

  • Industry qualifications, particularly beauty, hospitality and health
  • NVQ in customer service business administration
  • Advance into similar roles, such as admin assistant and administrator.

Starting salary:  £12,000, which can rise to more than £25,000 in a senior position

Benefits: pension, comfortable work environment; continuous demand in the UK jobs market; sociable role; and convenient day time hours.

Factory worker

Factory Worker Thumbnail

As a factory worker, you’ll be on the front line in the manufacturing industry. Workers are expected to work quickly and efficiently, with sound practical skills to keep the production line running smoothly.


  • GCSE’s in maths and English are advantageous but not a requirement
  • Previous experience on a production line is desirable
  • An assessment of practical skills may be part of a selection process
  • Motivation with the ability to concentrate over extended periods of time

Career progression

  • Health and safety training will be provided during induction
  • Diploma in Performing Manufacturing Operations
  • Certificate/Diploma for Proficiency in Food Manufacturing Excellence
  • Work-related courses are available, such as truck driving, depending on your position

Starting salary:  £12,000 - £15,000

Benefits: pension; flexible working hours; overtime is often available; apprenticeship places available; opportunities to work within a range of industries.

To qualify for a workplace pension, you must be between 22 and the State Pension age, work in the UK, and earn at least £10,000 a year. Big companies (250 or more employees) set up workplace pensions in 2012, all small firms must enrol existing staff by Oct 2017, and new employees by Feb 2018.

Roles that do not require a degree are in high demand in the UK, but gaining the experience and skills employers need can be challenging. has developed Be the Change in partnership with humanutopia to raise the confidence and aspirations of 13 and 14 year olds through engagement activities and work place visits. We are also committed to providing job seekers of all ages with the best possible advice and guidance.

*all figures provided are intended as guidelines only. Pay and benefits may vary across an industry.

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