Careers in Specific Sectors

See also: Personal Development

Choosing a career—or, indeed, changing careers partway through your working life—is never going to be entirely simple. However, it is easier if you have a good understanding of all the options available to you, whether realistic or not. Our section on careers in specific sectors is designed to give you a broad understanding of the careers and jobs available across the board.

We have tried to cover all (or most of) the options, from Administration and the Armed Forces, through Business, Healthcare, and Law and Law Enforcement, right down (alphabetically) to Retail and Social Work. This page will help you to navigate your way around this section, and look in the right place for careers that you think might interest you.

What is a Sector?

It is worth starting with what we mean by a ‘sector’.

In fact, the term ‘sector’, like ‘industry’, has a very specific meaning in economic terms:

  • An industry is a group of companies that are all of similar types.

  • A sector is a broader economic category used to describe a segment of the economy, which may contain several industries.

For example, banking is an industry. The companies within it are banks. However, the sector that contains the industry banking is the financial services sector. This also contains the insurance industry, new payment providers, and financial technology companies.

Companies within the same industry tend to compete for the same customers. However, companies within a sector will often collaborate to serve the same customers more effectively.

On this page, and in this section of SkillsYouNeed, we have used the term ‘sector’ very broadly.

Sometimes it means a section of the economy, and at other times it may be closer to an industry. Other pages may cover neither of those, but instead describe a group of jobs that cut across industries and sectors.

Where Should I Start?

If your main question is ‘Where should I start?’ in terms of looking at careers, the best starting point might be some of our more general Career Management information.

This is likely to help you understand the types of skills that are needed to navigate a career successfully in this day and age.

Beyond that, the real question to ask is what kind of work fits your skills and interests.

Our pages on Developing Your Super-Strengths and Discovering Your Career Values will help you to work out what you are really good at, and what matters to you. These should be the foundation of your career and job hunt—and your ongoing management of your career.

You may also find it helpful to read our pages on Careers for Graduates or Career Options for School Leavers, depending on where you are in your career. These will help you to understand the distinction between different types of jobs.

Sector-Specific Pages and Careers

Our pages on sector-specific careers aim to give you a broad outline of what is available in each sector.

They set out the types of jobs available, and describe the sector itself. They also explain the types of skills and the qualifications that are needed for each.

Some sectors are very definitely focused on graduates. For example, many of the people working in life sciences, physical sciences and engineering tend to be graduates. However, all those sectors will also employ plenty of people who are not graduates in technician-type roles. Many careers in the media and advertising are also graduate roles, but there are many technical roles that require skills rather than qualifications.

Other sectors are much less graduate-focused, although they will still employ some graduates in specific roles. For example, there are graduates who work in retail and hospitality management. However, the vast majority of careers in retail or in hospitality and personal care do not require a degree.

Other sectors are more mixed. Many graduates work in the financial services sector, and some roles require professional qualifications. However, there are also plenty of other jobs in the sector. Similarly, the construction sector may sound like it should employ mostly non-graduates. However, many roles are highly skilled and need particular qualifications, albeit trade-focused. Others like architecture, require a degree. Careers Involving Animals, Farming and the Natural World are similarly mixed. Studying to become a veterinary surgeon takes many years—but you can become a dog-sitter without any qualifications at all.

Some sectors require very specific qualifications. Professional careers such as many careers in healthcare, or careers in law and law enforcement, require many years of study, and the acquisition of professional qualifications, coupled with regular continuing professional development. However, these sectors also contain many jobs that are perhaps no less skilled, but which do not require professional qualifications, such as police jobs. If you are interested in policing, you may also be interested in a career in the armed forces, security and emergency sector, which also generally do not require professional qualifications.

Other sectors require very specific skills, which may take many years to acquire. For example, those working in careers in arts, crafts and design, especially performers, may have spent years developing their skills. Similarly, careers in sports may also require many years of training, albeit without needing any professional qualifications. However, these sectors also employ plenty of other people who do not have that level of skill. Instead, they have a strong interest in the sector, and have chosen to turn their interest into a career.

Some people choose their career on the basis of ‘giving something back’ to society. If this sounds good to you, you may be interested to read about careers in politics and government, education, social work and youth work and in the Third Sector.

Some of the so-called sector-specific pages are actually cross-cutting. People working in jobs such as ‘administrator’, for example, have skills that can be applied in almost any sector. These pages include Careers in Administration and Management and Careers in Business. Careers in Information Technology and Computing are also found in plenty of other sectors beyond the technology sector. While manufacturing is a defined sector, manufacturing roles also turn up in plenty of other sectors, including, for example, life sciences (and for more about this, see our page on Careers in Manufacturing).

Read On to Find Out More…

The only question left is where you are going to go next. Why not click on a few links from this page to find out more about careers in specific sectors?