Leaving school or college and about to start looking for jobs in Kent? Our guide gives you the low-down on the top areas of work across the county, as well as Kent’s up-and-coming career zones, and some of the county’s biggest employers.
Facts and figures
- There were 622,100 employee jobs in Kent in 2016 — that’s about 2.1% of all employee jobs in the UK.
- The number of jobs in Kent and Medway rose by 8.7% between 2009 and 2015, which was better than the 7.8% rise in the South East, and the 7.1% rise across the whole of Great Britain.
- Full-time workers in Kent earn £574 a week on average, compared with £552 across the country. That’s lower than the £596 weekly average for the South East, though.
- The employment rate for men in Kent (79.4%) is slightly below the national average of 79.5%. The employment rate for women (69.3%) is slightly below the national average of 69.5%.
‘Jobs in Kent are growing faster than in the UK as a whole’
What are Kent’s biggest career zones?
In sheer numbers, the biggest career zones in Kent are:
- Wholesale (selling things in bulk) and retail employed 124,000 people in 2015.
- Health and social care employed 92,100 people in 2016.
- Education and teaching employed 71,500.
Compared to the UK as a whole, Kent employs more people in certain areas of work, which means Kent is a good place to be if you’d like to go into these areas:
- Construction employed 43,500 people in 2016.
- Agriculture and environment, energy and utilities employed 24,200 people in 2015.
Although more people work in construction in Kent and Medway than in the country as a whole, the number of jobs fell between 2009 and 2015. This means it might be harder to get a construction job in Kent in the future.
There are also some career zones that are on the rise in Kent. This means that you’ll be more likely to find jobs in these areas in Kent in the next few years than you were in the past. The biggest of these are:
Information and communications
This includes jobs in IT and the internet. The number of jobs rose by nearly a quarter between 2009 and 2015, from about 15,000 to 20,100 – leaping up from 16,100 in 2014. This is much faster than in the South East region as a whole.
Professional, technical and scientific
This is a posh way of describing careers which require a high level of education, such as a degree. This includes careers in medicine, science and research, and engineering. There were 42,800 Kent jobs in this sector in 2016.
Healthcare and social care
Jobs increased by 14.2% between 2009 and 2015 to 96,100 (then fell to 92,100 in 2016) – a bit faster than in the South East as a region.
Which career zones am I less likely to find work in?
In some areas of work, the number of roles is falling. This means it may get harder to find roles in fields like this.
- Jobs in finance and insurance dropped by over 18% between 2009 and 2015 – more than in the South East region and a lot more than in the country as a whole.
- Jobs in the arts, entertainment and recreation dropped by 2.6%, even though across the country as a whole they’re on the rise.
Where do people work in Kent?
You won’t be surprised to learn that jobs tend to be found in big town and cities. The biggest employment centres are:
- Maidstone: 75,300 people were employed in 2015, with the biggest areas of work being health and social care, retail and merchandising, and administration and clerical work.
- Canterbury: Employed 62,800 people, with education and teaching, retail and merchandising, and health and social care being the biggest areas of work.
- Tunbridge Wells: 62,100 people worked here in 2015. The biggest areas of work are professional, scientific and technical, retail and merchandising, and health and social care.
What do people earn in Kent?
In 2017, the full-time weekly earnings for workers living in Kent was £574.90. This was above the national figure of £552.70 but below the South East regional figure of £596.80
Weekly earnings reflect the amount and kind of work available in the area. For example, pay is more where there are lots of high-skilled jobs requiring more qualifications.
- Since 2002, earnings in Kent have increased faster than in the South East as a whole.
- Men earn £632.80 per week on average, compared with £492.70 for women.
What are job prospects like in Kent?
- Men and women: 79.4% of men of working age have jobs, which is just slightly below the 79.5% figure for England as a whole. 69.3% of women are employed, compared with 69.5% for the whole of England.
- University graduates: 75.7% of graduates of a university based in Kent are employed within six months of completing their degree.
- There are 5,600 graduates employed in Kent, and just under half studied in Kent (43%).
Who are the biggest employers in Kent?
Big employers in Kent include:
- Kent County Council – Public sector and government.
- BAE Systems – Engineering, Armed forces, IT and the internet.
- P&O Ferries – Transport and logistics.
- Eurostar – Transport and logistics, administration and clerical, engineering.
- Eurotunnel – Transport and logistics, administration and clerical.
- Aesica Queenborough – Medicine, Science and research.
- Abbott Laboratories – Medicine, Science and research.
- Saga – Insurance and pensions, hospitality, leisure and tourism.
Here are some of the biggest employers in Kent’s big towns and cities:
- Maidstone: Aylesford Newsprint, Whatman plc, Clydesdale Bank.
- Canterbury: Woodfield Systems, Flexicon Ltd, Wahl Europe Ltd.
- Tunbridge Wells: BBC, AXA, Allianz Cornhill.
These employers came top in MegaGrowth 50 list of the county’s fastest-growing companies. Many of them are quickly taking on lots of new employees to help them continue their journey.
- Reliable Contractors – human resources and training.
- Chartway Group – house builders.
- RIFT Group – offer accountancy and other services to companies.
- Childrensalon – fashion company.
- Dovetail Games – video games company.