IELTS Work Vocabulary

On this page you will find work vocabulary. These words will help you write, read and speak about the topic in the test.

A mix of common word forms with example sentences is provided, but make sure you do your own research on the words and practice using them.

You will find:

The word The definition
An example sentence

Work Vocabulary




Someone who is paid to work for someone else.



The company has several hundred employees.



A person or organization that employs people.


Employers monitor their employees very carefully these days.



When someone is paid to work for a company or organization.

Due to the recession, there are thousands of people looking for employment.

I was employed in the company for several years.



Not working.

Levels of unemployment in the economy have been rapidly increasing.

He has been unemployed for 6 months now.


To make the same journey regularly between work and home

It is taking longer for people to commute to work because of traffic problems.

Commuting to work everyday by bus is tiring.


Formal way to say 'job'.

What is your occupation?


Working life or a particular job during one's working life that gets better in terms of salary and position.

He is retired now but he had an amazing career ( = succesful working life).

He hopes to have a career in the army



Any type of work which needs special training or a particular skill, often one which is respected because it involves a high level of education.

The teaching profession is not as good as it used to be because salaries have decreased.

Salary / Wages

Money paid each month to an employee for their work.

Public sector salaries are not keeping up with inflation.

He receives a good wage because he works for a prestigious company.

Public Sector

Businesses and industries that are owned or controlled by the government.

You get a good pension if you work for the public sector, but the salary is not always so good.

Private Sector

Businesses and industries that are privately owned.

Most graduates hope to work in the private sector when they finish university as there are more opportunities and the pay is better than the public sector.


To stop working because of old age or ill health.

The retirement age in most countries is 65.

He had to retire early due to ill health.


Working a fixed number of hours but having flexibility with start and finish times.

They have introduced flexitime at my work place so I usually start at 10am now and finish at 6pm.

Resign / Quit

To leave a job.

He resigned from his job yesterday.

Don't quit your job unless you have another one to start.

Fire / Sack /


To remove someone from their job, especially because they have done something wrong

He was fired / sacked / dismissed because he was late for work every day.


A job position that is not filled and so is available.

I spoke to the company and they said they had several vacancies.


Working more than your contracted hours.

The employees often work overtime but they are not given extra money so it is not fair.


The time worked in a job that is not normal hours.

She is a nurse so she has to work in shifts. One week she does the morning shift, and then the next week she will do the night shift.

Shift work can be very tiring.

View a sample essay written by a student using work vocabulary:

Work and Leisure Essay

Return from work vocabulary to IELTS Vocabulary



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Topic Vocabulary Links:



Diet, Fitness and Health


Information Technology



The Arts

Children and The Family




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