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What Jobs are in High Demand in the UK for 2021?

The economy has changed beyond recognition in many sectors as a result of COVID-19, not just in the UK but globally. Once highly secure occupations have seen high rates of redundancies or furloughing, such as airline pilots and hospitality managers. But as with any crisis, there always comes opportunity, and the pandemic is no different. Another aspect that is impacting the demand and supply of skills is Brexit. As a result of the ending of free movement between the continent and the UK, employers are no longer able to simply fill gaps in their workforce with EU workers. While EU citizens already in the UK before the end of 2020 are free to work without the need to apply for a visa (assuming they secure settled status before the end of June 2021), it is no longer possible to bring new staff from the EU to the UK without formally sponsoring them. As such, the UK has a number of significant factors which is going to shape the demand for labour and skills going forward. Even if Brexit and COVID-19 had only happened in a parallel universe, the UK would still be dealing with changes in the economy due to geopolitics, technological innovation, and climate change. In this article, we will take a look at some of the jobs which are currently in high demand in the UK, with a focus on those which may be of interest to prospective migrant workers coming to the UK in 2021.

Not All In-Demand Roles Are Classed As Eligible Occupations For A Work Visa

Before taking a look at specific in-demand jobs in the UK for 2021, it is important to note that not all of these will meet the eligibility criteria for a work visa in the UK. Since Brexit, the UK government has pivoted away from relying on immigration as a source of lower-skilled labour. While it is still possible to secure a temporary visa for seasonal workers (i.e. for fruit picking), long-term work visas are only granted to those with skills that are equivalent to RQF level three (this is one step below degree level), or higher. In addition, there is a strict policy of only allowing work visas to be granted to applicants with a minimum salary of £25,600 per year. It is possible to be paid less in certain circumstances. The Home Office states you “can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for your job if your salary is at least £20,480 per year”; this only applies if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • your job is in a shortage occupation
  • you’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
  • you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject, your salary must be at least £23,040)
  • you have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education

In addition, only certain occupations are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, as listed on the Home Office website. For this reason, it is important to check that any in-demand occupation you are considering applying for must be on this list. Will all this clarified, what are the in-demand jobs for 2021 for migrant workers to the UK?

In-Demand Jobs For Migrant Workers To The UK For 2021

There is a broad consensus on which occupations are classed as in-demand, but certain jobs stand out more than others, including:

Healthcare professionals

It is well established that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has a large number of vacancies for a range of health and care roles (believed to be around 100,000 vacancies). If you in one of the following healthcare occupations, you may be eligible to apply for a fast-tracked UK Health and Care visa:

  • health services and public health managers and directors
  • residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
  • biological scientists and biochemists
  • physical scientists
  • medical practitioners
  • psychologists
  • pharmacists
  • ophthalmic opticians
  • dental practitioners
  • medical radiographers
  • podiatrists
  • health professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as audiologists and occupational health advisers
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • speech and language therapists
  • therapy professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as osteopaths and psychotherapists
  • nurses
  • midwives
  • social workers
  • laboratory technicians
  • paramedics
  • dispensing opticians
  • pharmaceutical technicians
  • medical and dental technicians
  • health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
  • nursing auxiliaries and assistants
  • dental nurses
  • senior care workers


The UK’s Home Office is extremely keen to encourage those with science backgrounds to come to the UK, such as the demand for skills in this area. All types of science roles are included on the Home Office’s Shortage Occupation List, including:

  • Biological scientists and biochemists
  • Physical scientists; notably engineering geologists, hydrogeologists, and geophysicists
  • Social and humanities scientists – only archaeologists


Like scientists, engineers are in high demand in the UK. Engineering roles on the shortage occupation list include:

  • Electrical and electronics engineers
  • Civil engineers
  • Design and development engineers
  • Production and process engineers

Information technology

There appears to be no let-up in demand for IT skills in the UK, especially for:

  • Project managers
  • IT business analysts
  • Architects
  • Systems designers
  • Developers
  • Cybersecurity specialists
  • Web designers and developers


Another interesting development in the UK job market is the demand for ‘artisans’ who can help to revitalise high streets. With the demise of many high street chains (such as Debenhams, Thorntons, and Top Shop), there is now likely to be a surge in independent shops, and these will require artisanal skills such as bakery, butchery, confectionary making, cake making, fish mongery, glass and ceramics making, furniture makers, florists, and footwear makers. All of these occupations are included on the Skilled Worker eligible occupation list.

Final words

It is not just professional roles that are in demand in the UK in 2021. More traditional roles are also likely to see a surge in popularity as a result of changing consumer habits. In addition, as one of the first countries likely to emerge into a post-covid world as a result of our effective vaccine programme, the UK is going to be an exciting place to be for migrant workers from around the world, with a wide range of rewarding and well-paid jobs on offer.

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