As with most cities, Oxford is central to the economy of the surrounding area, and is home to the most residents, as well as being home to a wide range of businesses and industries. There are around 3,400 businesses in Oxford and seven out of the ten largest companies based in Oxfordshire are within the city. The service industry is one of the most important in Oxford, with a majority of employees in the city working within this industry. Almost 20% of these work in retail, catering, and hotels.
Another major industry is education, with many of the people living and working in Oxford being involved with the University of Oxford and other educational institutions, as well as the public sector, tourism, and the rapidly growing high-tech industry. Many of these industries enjoy excellent access to a varied and skilled workforce thanks to the universities.
Although Oxford, like the rest of the UK, suffered a huge rise in unemployment when the recession hit, the number of unemployed people in the city is actually well below what it was pre-recession, as of 2014. Even when unemployment was at a high, the number of young people claiming social unemployment benefits was still not as high as it was in other parts of the country, despite the large number of young people living in Oxford.
For those needing to search for jobs once living in Oxford, there are a great range of facilities and services that make job hunting much easier. Local newspapers in the area include the Oxford Mail, which not only has jobs listed regularly within its pages, but also has online job listings that are regularly updated.
Other ways of applying for work when living in Oxford include walking through town and looking for help wanted signs, which are more likely to be put up in shops and places like beauty salons, meaning that it is best to do this if you are looking for work in retail or customer service. It is possible to join a number of temp agencies that will provide workers with temporary positions for a few days at a time, which may actually turn into full time positions if the job is done well.
Oxford has a Job Centre Plus, which is a place that the unemployed can go to get help finding a job, as well as to claim unemployment benefits.
If you are a foreign national who has lost their job in Oxford and is now looking to claim unemployment benefits, you should be aware that your application will depend on a variety of factors which may be different than they would be for British people trying to claim the same benefits.
Regardless of your current status of employment, make sure to inform yourself about any social security agreements that may exist between your home country and the United Kingdom. This is particularly the case for EU nationals. Such agreements protect you from having to make social security payments into two different national schemes at the same time, as well as regulate how and where you may be eligible for which benefits. You can read up more on this topic in our article on Social Security in the UK.