Employment options

It makes sense to think about how you’d like to work when you're deciding on a career. From self-employment to home working, flexible hours and shifts, we explore the options.

It makes sense to think about how you’d like to work when you're deciding on a career. From self-employment to home working, flexible hours and shifts, we explore the options.

A table with 'Innovation', 'Ideas', 'Inspiration' and 'Creative' written on it, people sit around the table and are moving things in with their hands.

Be your own boss

When you're thinking about your career, or job hunting, you're also probably thinking about where you'd like to work. But how about, instead of looking for an employer, you create that job yourself?


Apprenticeships lets you work, learn and earn at the same time.

Modern Apprenticeships

You could do all kinds of jobs as part of a Modern Apprenticeship. Use the My career options search to start exploring different types of apprenticeships. Use your account to discover which different MAs match up to your skills, strengths, experience, education, interests and ambition. 

To find out more, and apply for vacancies, visit Apprenticeships.scot.

Graduate Apprenticeships

 There's now a new way to learn as you earn, and work your way towards a degree. Find out about Graduate Apprenticeships on Apprenticeships.scot.

Full-time or part-time?

A full-time contract will see you working 35 or more hours a week. Depending on your employer, you could work longer hours. You normally wouldn’t work more than 48 hours a week on average, but you can choose to.

Just over a quarter of Scottish employees work part-time. This covers anything from a couple of hours a week up to the standard 35-hour working week.

Pay rates, pensions, holidays and training should be the same as you’d get if you were full-time. But part-time hours can help you fit work around your life if you have other commitments like family or studying.

Flexible working

If you’ve worked for your employer for more than 26 weeks, you can ask about flexible working. They don’t have to agree, but must consider your request. Some workplaces also offer flexibility to all or most staff, depending on their duties. Flexible working can be helpful if you’re a parent returning to work.

There are lots of ways to do this, but some common examples include:

  • Job sharing – two people do the same job and split the hours
  • Compressed hours – working full-time hours, over fewer days
  • Flexitime – starting and ending work at different times, as long as you’re there to cover core hours

Working shifts and nights

Shift work is common in many industries, because of the hours which need covered. In tourism, food and drink, manufacturing or health and social care you can expect a shift pattern. You might be dealing with global clients in different time zones, or customers who expect service out of office hours.

It just means your hours run over certain times each day or week. You might follow one pattern one week and a different one the next. Some shift work also involves working nights. There are special rules around night working hours.

Offshore workers can be away from home for weeks at a time, working different shift patterns.

Working from home

It doesn’t suit all jobs and industries. But thanks to digital technology, home working has become far easier in recent years. If you live in a rural area, have problems travelling or need to be out and about a lot, it could work for you. You’ll need a good connection to your colleagues, and a place to work. You also have to be able to avoid distractions.