Considering that most people work for a large part of their life, the topic of work and jobs is extremely common on the IELTS speaking and writing sections. This page contains some of the most commonly used IELTS words and phrases you will need when talking about work. There are also some practice activities for you to practice using the words in context.
Table of Contents
1. Work/Jobs Vocabulary
These are some general words and phrases used to talk generally about jobs/employment. There is an exercise for you to practice using the words in context.
- A nine-to-five – A term used for a typical office-based job where the working hours are 9 am till 5 pm
- A steady job – A job that offers constant work and a good income.
- Annual leave/Holiday – The paid time when a worker is entitled to not attend work
- Be made redundant – Dismissal from a job because the employer needs to reduce costs/workforce etc… Being made redundant does not mean that the employee did something wrong, rather, the job does not exist anymore
- Benefits – The additional extras that an employer provides aside from salary. For example, a car, healthcare, gym membership etc…
- Bonus – An additional remuneration given as extra to a normal salary. It is often based on performance.
- Candidates – The people applying for a job vacancy
- Career – An occupation performed for a large part of someone’s life, often with progression and advancement
- Career prospects – The chance of progression and advancement in a job
- Colleagues – The other people who work with you
- Commute – The journey to and from work
- Commuters – People making the journey to and from work
- Dismiss/Fire/Sack – To remove a person from a position of employment for either not performing well or committing a breach of rules
- Employer – The person or company that provides a job
- Employment – Paid work
- Employee – A person performing a job
- Entrepreneur – A person who starts one or multiple businesses
- Flexitime – The process where the employee chooses the hours they work
- Full-time – A job that involves working around 40 hours per week
- Interview – Part of the selection process consisting of questions used to choose from the different candidates for a specific position
- Maternity/Paternity leave – The time that a woman/man takes off from work following the birth of their child
- Minimum wage – The lowest amount of money an employee can legally be paid
- Morning/Night shift – Related to working hours
- Overtime – Time worked that is additional to what is normal
- Part-time – A job that typically involves 20 hours or less per week
- Private sector – Companies/organisations that are not owned or funded by the government
- Profession – A paid occupation, especially one that involves extensive training and qualifications
- Public sector – Organisations/bodies owned and funded by the government
- Resign – To voluntarily leave a position of employment
- Retire – Leave a job and stop working, usually because you have reached retirement age
- Salary – The money an employee receives for working
- Unemployment – The state of not having a job
- Working environment – The place and the conditions (salary/benefits etc) provided by a job
2. Work/Jobs Vocabulary Activity
|Read Full Answer|
How many hours do you work per day?
At the moment I am not working because I am on maternity leave for another month following the birth of my second child. In a month’s time, I will be working part-time for a few weeks, nine till one until I get back into the swing of things. Then I will go back to my regular full time schedule of nine to five in August. I am lucky because my employer has been really supportive and allowed me to return gradually. I am really happy about this because it is hard to find a stable and steady job in today’s economy. Overall, I am glad I didn’t have to resign just to have a baby.
What do you like the most about your job?
The thing that I like the most about my job is that is within walking distance of where I live so my commute is a 10-minute walk through a park. I am so happy to not be crammed onto public transport with thousands of other commuters that I accepted a salary cut in order to work closer to where I live. The other thing I like is that there is always lots of overtime available because we have far more work than we can manage. So, if I need to earn some extra money it is always available.
3. Work/Jobs Collocations, Idioms, and Phrasal Verbs
Work/Jobs Collocations, Idioms, and Phrasal Verbs – There are many different situations in which you may be required to talk about work/jobs. Therefore you must learn the correct collocations, idioms, and phrasal verbs to accurately discuss jobs and employment characteristics and trends. These are some of the most commonly used words and phrases, followed by an activity for you to practice using the words and phrases in context.
- A desk job – A job that involves spending all or most of the time sitting at a desk
- A heavy workload – A lot of work
- A perk of the job – A benefit of the job
- In the rat race – Competing with others for money or power
- Labour-intensive – Something that requires a lot of work
- Land a job – To be offered a job
- Lay-off – To make redundant
- Job satisfaction – How content or satisfied an employee feels working in a particular job
- Living wage – A salary that pays for the necessities of life. For example, rent, food, transport etc…
- Move up the career ladder – To progress in a job/Gain promotion
- Moving forwards – In the future
- Homeworking/ Work from home– People who work from their house rather than a traditional style office
- Pull a sickie – To pretend to be sick to not go to work
- Put into practice – Put learnt knowledge into practical use
- Stuck behind a desk – Working in a job that involves a long time sitting at a desk
- Think on your feet – Think spontaneously
- Start-up – A new business
- To be a good team player – To get on well with other employees
- To be well-paid – To receive a high salary
- To gain experience – To spend time doing a particular job so that it becomes familiar
- Unemployment benefits – The money/support given to the unemployed by the government
- Working like a dog – Working a lot or extremely hard
4. Work/Jobs Collocations, Idioms, and Phrasal Verbs Activity
|Read Full Answer|
Describe your ideal job
Ideally I would like to land a job that is well paid, or at least above the national living wage. I am not particularly concerned with being in the rat race and competing to get to the top. My idea of job satisfaction is a stable job where I can collaborate with others and be a good team player, and at the same time put into practice what I learnt at university. I don’t mind a heavy workload because I like to be busy and interacting with colleagues rather than sitting around all day with nothing to do.
How has employment changed in recent decades in your country?
In recent decades there has been a big shift in how people work in my country. Firstly, a lot more people have the option of flexitime so they can fit their jobs around their family lives. Also, since the growth of the internet, far more people work from home now than ever before, especially influencers and other internet workers. I think people are starting to realise that being stuck behind a desk all day and working like a dog for someone else’s benefit is not much fun. Young people nowadays would often rather be entrepreneurs in new and exciting fields, which is why there are so many start-ups founded and owned by young people.
For more practice, Visit IELTS vocabulary for health.