Top 10 Menial Jobs For PhD Students in the UK

Common work often viewed as low-skilled or temporary, indeed play a vital role in the lives of doctoral degree candidates in the United Kingdom. Menial Jobs For PhD Students in the UK opens up numerous advantages for these students, ranging from gaining practical experiences to fostering versatile skills, which could greatly influence their professional journey in numerous ways.

Here, we delve into the significance of routine jobs for doctoral students and highlight various benefits, both personal and professional. Additionally, we’ll provide an extensive guide to the top 10 carefully chosen menial job roles, particularly suited for these students in the UK, thereby creating a definitive resource for those looking to complement their academic endeavour with a form of financial autonomy.

Why Menial Jobs are Important for PhD Students

For UK-based doctoral students, menial jobs take up critical space in their journey. Despite their seemingly ordinary nature, these jobs hold significant benefits for doctoral candidates. With their primary advantage being flexible working hours, it enables students the capacity to juggle academic duties alongside part-time work.

Moreover, roles such as tutoring, research assistance, data entry, and lab assistance provide avenues for practical skill development pertinent to the students’ field of research. Positions in administration, libraries and event staffing enrich organisational and communication skills, while freelance writing, virtual assistance, and roles in the retail or hospitality sectors, allow students to expand their professional scope whilst earning supplemental income.

All in all, these manual jobs serve not only to alleviate the financial struggle for PhD students but also assist them in reaching their personal and professional goals.

Benefits of Menial Jobs for PhD Students

On the surface, part-time jobs may lack luster and may seem mundane and unremarkable at first glance. However, for doctoral candidates in the United Kingdom, these seemingly ordinary positions bring forth a myriad of benefits and advantages. Some of these menial works can prove to be a wise and invaluable choice for international doctoral students seeking to maximize their potential and thrive in a competitive professional landscape. These part-time jobs help international PhD students in the following ways:

  1. Steady and Reliable Income Stream

Menial jobs provide a steady and reliable income stream, which is essential for international students to meet their living expenses and alleviate any financial strain they may face throughout their academic journey. This financial support gives them the freedom and peace of mind to fully concentrate on their studies and research without the burden of financial worries.

  1. Hands-on Experience

Engaging in menial work opens up an array of opportunities for students to gain invaluable hands-on experience in various spheres. This firsthand experience proves to be highly valuable when later applying for career opportunities. Employers greatly appreciate candidates who have had practical experience in the field, as it showcases their dedication, work ethic, and ability to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. Consequently, these candidates have a competitive advantage over their peers who solely rely on textbook knowledge.

  1. Flexibility

This is perhaps the greatest advantage of these jobs. Doctoral students often find themselves juggling multiple responsibilities, including their studies, research, and personal commitments. Menial posts embrace this reality and provide students with the flexibility to maintain a fine balance between work and study. By successfully managing their time between work and study, they cultivate a sense of discipline and responsibility that will greatly benefit them in their future careers.

  1. Connections/Networks

Engaging in a broad spectrum of menial jobs exposes students to a diverse range of professionals in their respective industries. Through these connections, students can expand their network and gain access to valuable resources and opportunities. In today’s interconnected world, networking plays a pivotal role in career advancement, and menial work can serve as an excellent platform for students to establish solid connections within their chosen fields.

  1. Development Of Transferable Skills

Part-time jobs contribute to the development of indispensable transferable skills that are vital for both career success and personal growth. By engaging in menial work, students acquire and enhance skills such as effective time management, clear communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, strong leadership abilities, adaptability, and resilience.

Read Also: Best 10 Menial Jobs for PhD Students in Australia

How to Find Menial Jobs for PhD Students

Discovering menial jobs suitable for PhD students in the UK can be facilitated with three key strategies. Applying these strategies enables international PhD students in the UK to identify menial jobs suited to their abilities and aspirations.

  1. Online Job Boards

Online job boards serve as invaluable platforms for PhD students in the UK in search of menial jobs. These digital spaces present a spectrum of job openings across multiple sectors, giving students ample choices ranging from research assistant roles and tutoring jobs to data input tasks, and more. These boards furnish detailed job profiles, prerequisites, and application instructions, making it simpler for students to identify fitting roles.

  1. University Career Centers

University Career Centers are treasured avenues for PhD students seeking menial jobs that align with their academic schedules and objectives.  These centers provide access to a broad spectrum of job options inside and outside the university. They offer custom job listings specifically tailored for PhD students, ensuring a perfect fit for individual needs. University Career Centers thus play a vital role in guiding PhD students towards appropriate employment opportunities that supplement their academic journey and career progression.

  1. Networking

Networking is a critical component of career progression and can be quite potent in the quest for menial jobs for PhD students. Networking provides students with an opportunity to showcase their skills and academic endeavors, thereby boosting their appeal to employers. Through active participation in networking initiatives, PhD students are better poised to find menial jobs aligned with their career aspirations.

Top 10 Menial Jobs for PhD Students in the UK

PhD scholars in the UK may greatly benefit by engaging in part-time jobs. These jobs not only deliver financial backing but also foster useful skills, expand network connections, and offer precious industry exposure. These jobs can be found via online job portals, university career departments, or through networking. Let us explore the top 10 part-time roles that could be invaluable for doctoral students in the UK.

#1. Tutoring ($28.17 per hour)

Looking for well paid part-time work in the UK? Search no more. Doctoral students in the UK are often equipped with vast knowledge in their respective fields, marking them as excellent candidates for tutoring services. By providing detailed explanations of complex models and developing essential academic skills, tutoring also allows for the consolidation of their own learnings. Besides being a source of income, this role helps polish communication skills and teaching methodologies. Tutoring is not only financially lucrative but is also an enriching experience for scholars in the UK.

#2. Research Assistant ($ 27.77 per hour)

The role of a Research Assistant presents PhD candidates with an excellent chance to gain experience in their chosen discipline. Supervised by a lead investigator, research assistants aid in executing experiments, analysing findings, and authoring research papers. This role lets students contribute to the latest research and improve their research abilities. It’s one of the best-paid part-time jobs in the UK for international students.

#3. Data Entry/ Information Clerks ($18.61 per hour)

Data entry positions are highly suitable for doctoral candidates in the UK, thanks to their flexible timings and proximity to research tasks. Maintaining databases and ensuring data integrity requires great attention to detail and robust organizational skills. Available across various sectors like healthcare and market research, these roles can be remote or office-based, offering flexibility to balance academic research with work. In addition to this, data entry roles help foster invaluable data management skills.

#4. Lab Assistant ($27.59 per hour)

Working as a lab assistant provides a wonderful hands-on experience in research laboratories. This role allows PhD students to partake in experiments, analyze data, and contribute to crucial research projects. They learn various lab techniques, enrich their scientific understanding, and gain opportunities to network with other researchers. To say the least, the role of a lab assistant offers an enriching experience that aligns with their academic studies and contributes to their evolution as researchers. It finally pays well as a menial job.

Read Also: Best 6 Ways To Be A Good PhD Student

#5. Administrative Assistant ($21.19 per hour)

An administrative assistant role presents an excellent opportunity for doctoral students in the UK, offering them the chance to refine their organizational and multitasking skills. This position allows them to improve their communication abilities by dealing with various administrative responsibilities. It is also an avenue for extra income to relieve the high cost of living faced by international students.

Apart from this, working as an administrative assistant opens doors for potential networking and future career advancement. The administrative assistant role certainly contributes to the professional growth of PhD students in the UK. This is a menial job for you if you are in the UK as an international PhD student.

#6. Library Assistant ($16.96 per hour)

The role of a library assistant provides a fantastic opportunity for PhD students. It involves various tasks, such as shelving books, cataloging materials, and helping patrons with their inquiries. The role also enhances skills highly sought after in the job market. Moreover, interactions with fellow scholars can lead to potential collaborations. Overall, the role of a library assistant provides an excellent mix of practical experience and academic support to PhD students. It is one of the most sought after and highly paid part time jobs for international students in the UK.

#7. Event Staff ($ 28.24 per hour)

Working as a part of an event staff is another excellent option for PhD students in the UK. This role offers firsthand exposure to event planning and management. The job demands assisting with event setup, registrations, guiding attendees, coordinating logistics, and overall event support. This role allows PhD students to mesh their work and study commitments effectively. Above all, working as an event staff allows for interaction with professionals and the expansion of professional networks, enhancing the personal and professional development of students.

#8. Freelance Writing ($35.17 per hour)

Freelance writing is an attractive part time job option for PhD students in the UK hoping to make some additional money while gaining useful experience. As a freelance writer, you can broaden your expertise and build a diverse portfolio, potentially leading to future job offers. Furthermore, it provides a chance to network with industry professionals. On the whole, freelance writing provides a fruitful and flexible job opportunity for doctoral students in the UK.

#9. Virtual Assistant ($21.19 per hour)

Acting as a virtual assistant is a popular choice among PhD students in the UK. As a virtual assistant, one can provide remote administrative support to professionals or organizations. Besides providing experience in various fields, it also equips one with time management and organization skills. Overall, the role of a virtual assistant is seen as one of the best part-time jobs for PhD students in the UK due to its pliability and the transferable skills it offers.

#10. Retail or Hospitality ($21.55 per hour)

PhD students in the UK can consider roles in retail or hospitality. Even though these jobs may not be directly related to their field of study, they offer several advantages. Firstly, they provide invaluable customer service skills, which are transferable to various industries. Furthermore, these roles enhance communication and interpersonal skills besides building confidence and resilience. Ultimately, these roles can provide students with critical skills and experiences that contribute to their holistic development.

See Also: 10 Menial Jobs for International PhD Students in Canada

Tips for Balancing Menial Jobs and PhD Studies

Essential to the PhD student balancing their academic commitments with menial employment is an effective time management strategy, underpinned by a robust and adhered-to schedule, ensuring optimal organization and productivity. Correctly balancing these commitments can create a comprehensive academic and professional development regimen. Let us look at the essential Tips for Balancing Menial Jobs and PhD Studies.

  1. Time Management Strategies

Begin by concentrating on tasks of the highest priority, which ensures immediate accomplishment of the most crucial tasks. Understand and acknowledge your personal boundaries, setting attainable targets for both your PhD and your job. A proper scheduling system incorporates allocated time slots for both your job and your studies, strive to follow this routine rigorously.

  1. Setting Realistic Expectations

Students must establish realistic expectations as they balance menial jobs with PhD studies. It’s a demanding task to work part-time whilst pursuing a doctorate. It can be a physical and mental challenge. To prevent overwhelming themselves, PhD students should be conscious of their limitations and foster clear boundaries.

  1. Prioritizing Tasks

Prioritizing tasks effectively proves highly valuable for PhD students in the UK when trying to balance their menial work with their studies. A clear understanding of the tasks that are urgent and important enables students to best allocate their time. Setting well-defined objectives and deadlines aids task prioritization and maintains focus.

Read Also: Best 9 Alternative Career Paths For PhD Graduates

The Impact of Menial Jobs on Career Development

Performing blue-collar jobs, though seemingly mundane, can create an influential touchstone for PhD students’ career growth. Such jobs provide an opportunity to nurture a diverse range of abilities that are both valuable and can easily be recalibrated to suit future employment ventures. Lifelong skills such as teamwork and communication, adaptability, and problem-solving are frequently refined in such jobs.

Taking up roles in part time jobs paves the way to networking opportunities, which could lead to influential professional connections, employment references, and job opportunities. Furthermore, providing industry-related knowledge and experience to PhD students is another significant aspect of menial jobs.

This practical experience proves to be of enormous value when planning to embark on a career in academia or similar fields. Therefore, regardless of the demeanor of menial jobs, their relevance to the career advancement of PhD students is undeniably significant.


Taking on part-time work can be advantageous for PhD scholars in the United Kingdom, offering them the chance to acquire hands-on skills and knowledge alongside their scholarly pursuits. The top ten part-time job opportunities for these PhD students range from various roles that pay very well.

The influence of part-time work on career progression cannot be overstated, paving the way for the development of adaptable skills, networking connections, and exposure to various industries. All in all, exploring these part-time vacancies can nurture both the academic and professional advancements of PhD students in the United Kingdom.


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