IELTS vocabulary: Jobs

One of the most common topics you will come across in the IELTS speaking exam is the world of work. People spend a lot of time at work, so it makes sense that jobs come up a lot in this exam. On this page, you can find practice questions, a sample answer video, as well…

Practice Questions

Part one

  • Do you work or are you a student?
  • What’s your job?
  • What is the best thing about your current job?
  • Do you think it’s better to work for a company or be self-employed?

Part two

Describe a job you would like to have. You should say:
What this job would involve,
where you would do this job,
which qualifications you would need,
and explain why you would like to have this job.

Part three

  • Are people fairly paid for their work?
  • Why do some people work too hard?
  • Which is more important: having a job that pays well or a job you like?
  • What do people need to know before taking a job?
  • How has employment changed in recent years?
  • Do you prefer working in an office or at home?

Sample Answers: Jobs

Jobs and Work Vocabulary

This vocabulary list is presented in the same order as the words that appear in the sample answer video. Either follow along with this list or read the list first before checking out the video.

Similar to a teacher. However, a coach is there to help people help themselves while a teacher is more likely to present information.
Work with
If you ‘work for’ someone, they are your boss. If you ‘work with’ someone, you either work at the same company as them, or they are your client.
Work for yourself
Another way to say ‘self employed’.
A list of the times when you are supposed to be at work.
Work from home
This is a common way of describing someone who stays home to work rather than going to the office. If you only do this occasionally you can make sentences like ‘I will be working from home on Tuesday.’
To travel to work. You can also use this as a noun to say things like ‘I have a long commute.’
When talking about jobs, we often use this as an adjective to describe something that makes you feel free. For example, ‘The new set of regulations at work are very freeing.’
Ideal job
This is a common collocation that we can use to describe a job that is perfect for us. You can also use ‘dream job’ which is slightly more informal.
Turn a profit
A more natural-sounding way of saying ‘make a profit’ or ‘make money’.
Something which is wanted by many people. For this topic, we can describe people as ‘in demand’, but we also frequently use it for describing skills. E.g. ‘Coding is an in-demand skill these days.
‘Formal qualification
A formal qualification is something like a certificate, diploma or degree which you get after completing a course and passing a test. For some jobs, like being a bicycle mechanic, formal qualifications are not required because people care more about your skill level than what qualifications you have.
Culinary school
A school where you learn to cook.
Health and safety qualifications
These are certificates which demonstrate that you know how to do things in a safe way.
We can use these terms to describe a person who is paid too little or too much. We might also use them to describe a job.
To add value
This phrase can be used in several ways including helping a company make money or simply making the world a better place.
An adjective for someone who works too much. They might be suffering from stress or tiredness as a result.
Work life balance
How much your job lets you enjoy the rest of your life. We often say ‘good work life balance’ or ‘bad work life balance’.
The amount of money you earn. We especially use this when talking about monthly or yearly earnings. If you are talking about how much you earn per hour, it would be more common to say ‘wage’.
From nine till five
We can use this literally to mean ‘from 9am to 5pm’, but we also use it figuratively to mean ‘all of the working day’.
Opportunities for growth
If a job gives you opportunities for growth, the job likely gives you training and chances to get promoted. The opposite would be a ‘dead end job’.
Workplace culture
How the people at a company act. Some common phrases with this are ‘supportive workplace culture’, ‘competitive workplace culture’ and ‘toxic workplace culture’.
Job for life
When you work for the same company until you retire.
Diagonal promotion
To be promoted to a higher position in a different company. This used to be fairly uncommon but is becoming more and more popular.

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about jobs as a topic in the IELTS exam, check out this essay about the importance of work experience. If you have any questions about jobs vocabulary, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. 

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