Part-time work whilst studying at University: the benefits

Student Ambassadors

Higher Education study can be draining on the mind, body and bank balance. Pursuing part-time employment while at University can offset the expense, develop students’ working experience and, importantly, fuel the odd night-out.

Especially for those living away from home and without an allowance from parents, a part-time job can be esential in bridging the gap between maintenance loans and required funds.

Natwest’s 2017 Student Living index showed that family allowances are the 2nd biggest average contributor to student incomes, at £205.20 per month. Without this significant resource, reliance shifts onto other forms of income, with part-time jobs being a key contributor.

Aside from the purely financial benefits of part-time work, the opportunity to develop desirable transferrable skills allows students to ready themselves for their future careers.

Experience; sought after yet often lacking in fresh university graduates. The desirability of experience is evident in the way summer internships or placement years lead to full-time graduate jobs, with the temporary periods of employment allowing firms to educate students on their ways of working before assessing suitability for employment after University.

Part-time employment provides students with experience in a working environment, not only adding substance to a CV, but showing employers that the student has had exposure to the expected level of conduct in a professional setting. As highlighted by the High Fliers 2017 report on the Graduate Market, such experience is highly desirable, with over a third of the 100 large companies surveyed stipulating that a graduate with no experience would not be likely to be successful during their respective selection processes.

Development of transferrable skills through part-time work is a key benefit for students in helping them not just stand out in applying for graduate roles, but making their transition into full-time employment easier.

Management of schedules around working commitments, developing internal and customer-oriented communication and delivering on assigned tasks are just some of the many skills desired, if not required, by graduate employers (Evans et al., 2016; Heaton et al., 2008; McMurra et al., 2016).

Even a basic aptitude in the aforementioned skillsets adds another dimension to a graduate’s job application. In context of over 2 million UK undergraduates ( currently studying, differentiation can be critical in securing work after University.

From a student’s perspective, however, part-time work extends beyond enhancing career prospects. During a period in which new experiences are had and proverbial horizons are broadened, meeting new people through work and enabling the student to have some form of disposable income only serves to add value to the years spent in Higher Education.

Student giving her thoughts on having a part time job and how it's helped her to fund her accommodation and food


So whether in it for the money, the personal development, or just for the experience itself, there is something for everyone in part-time emlpoyment. So, from a student to students reading this; get online and get applying!

Prepared by Henry James Parrish, Reading Graduate July 2019.