The heydays of the docks are over but there is still a lot of business being done through Southampton’s ports, including luxury cruise liners that follow in the wake of illustrious names such as the Mayflower and the Titanic that set off from Southampton.
More modern industries include the manufacturing of cars and aircraft, and petrochemicals. Roughly 98% of the labor force of Southampton is in work. However, as the local economy depends heavily on the service industry, which tends to be lower paying, wages are below average nationally and well below average for the more expensive south-east.
The city is expanding economically, though, and the financial prospects look encouraging, with opportunities for expats with the appropriate work visa. EEA nationals, as well as expatriates hailing from Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland have the right to live and work in the UK without the need for special visas.
Around a quarter of jobs in Southampton are in the healthcare and education sectors. As well as two large universities that offer teaching opportunities, there is the University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is one of the area’s major employers, particularly for expats.
In addition to healthcare and teaching opportunities, employment in property, wholesale and retail, and the docks provide further job opportunities. Although most job hunting can be done online through specialist job sites like Indeed, local newspapers can still give a good indication of vacancies available. The Daily Echo is a local paper that organizes an annual job fair in March for local companies to demonstrate their commitment to the local workforce. Entry to these events is free.
While competition for part-time, lower paid jobs in Southampton is keen, due in part to the student workforce, but expats with relevant work experience will find their skills in demand. Just make sure to be up to speed on how to apply for jobs in the UK.
Income tax affairs can be complicated but the essentials are as follows. The first 10,000 GBP earned is tax free (although this can vary, depending on your age and other circumstances). Income above this amount and up to 31,865 GBP is taxed at 20%. Further income is taxed at 40% until 150,000 GBP when it is taxed at 45%.
In addition to income tax, you must pay National Insurance while working in Southampton. Your employer must also contribute to this. Rates for employees vary between 2% and 12% of salary, depending on circumstances. For more details regarding income tax, check out our in-depth articles on Social Security and Taxation in the UK.
In general, most tax services are available online on the Revenue and Customs website, but complicated foreign tax affairs may be better handled by expert financial advice.