Learn IELTS Work Vocabulary

Mar 25, 2020 | IELTS, IELTS Speaking, IELTS Test, IELTS Vocabulary, OET

IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Work 

Work is one of the top three most common topics in the IELTS Speaking test. It is likely to be the first set of questions the examiner asks. It could also be a Part 2 topic, which means that it continues into Part 3 as well. Learning work vocabulary should be a priority. 

Below you will find questions about work for each part of the Speaking test. We have also supplied model band 9.0 answers each question. 

I have highlighted high-level vocabulary in bold. Not only that – I have also included a glossary of these key expressions at the end of the page.

Before you read, you might like to download a free PDF quiz-version of this page, when you have completed the test return to this page to check your answers.

Part 1-style questions

Examiner: What do you do?
 Candidate: I work as a delivery driver for a large supermarket. I clock in at 8 am every morning, load my van, and set off on my round.

Examiner: Why did you choose this job?
 Candidate: During the coronavirus outbreak, there was a peak in demand for food and people in this profession were considered key workers.  

Examiner: Has your job changed a lot in the past couple of years?
 Candidate: Since customers don’t sign for delivery anymore, we need to get an enhanced DBS check to ensure we have no criminal convictions. Security is becoming more important all the time.

Part 2-style task

Describe a person you know who is good at his or her job.

 You should say:

  •  who the person is
  •  what job they do
  •  what effect he or she has on other people

and explain why he or she impresses other people.

IELTS Work Vocabulary by Andrew Turner @ EnglishwithanExpert.com


I would like to talk about my sister, who emigrated to the UK as a nurse five years ago. She loves her job but last year was really difficult for her. She worked through the period of time when the coronavirus had gone pandemic

Nursing is not a nine-to-five job, but it is very rewarding. Her job scope is extensive, and she can be called on to do things that we cannot imagine. Her work requires a lot of regimentation in order to keep herself and others safe.

I would love to follow in her footsteps, but I’m not cut out for that kind of work. My sister is a real hero – so many people owe their lives to her hard work and courage. Her job gives her a lot of fulfilment – but you need to be a special kind of person to do what she does.

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: What is the most popular kind of job in your country?
 Candidate: It’s hard to say really. Many people are stuck behind a desk doing some kind of office work. I think white-collar workers are probably the majority. 

Examiner: Is it becoming more important to keep our qualifications up to date?
 Candidate: These days things seem to change at breakneck speed, and I think it is crucial to keep pace with the times. Automation is becoming more common and boosting our qualifications can open up new career opportunities and keep us ahead of the robots.

 Examiner: Do you think it will become more common to change career paths in the future?
  Candidate: As I just said, artificial intelligence is starting to make many people redundant. If we don’t regularly consider new job fields we might find ourselves on the scrapheap.

Definitions for IELTS Work Vocabulary

Part 1

  • to clock in — to begin work, especially when you have to register the time you start
  •  a round — a series of visits to different people or places that are made as part of someone’s job
  •  a key worker — an employee who provides a vital service that people would find it hard to live without
  • enhanced DBS  — a piece of paperwork that shows if you have committed any crimes or received any police warnings 
  •  a criminal conviction — being found guilty of a crime in a court of law

Part 2

  •  a pandemic — when a disease infects many people in more than one country
  • a nine-to-five job — a nine-to-five job is a regular office job, in which you usually work from nine o’clock until five o’clock
  •  rewarding — providing satisfaction
  •  jobs scope — the number of different tasks required in a job and the frequency with which those tasks are repeated
  •  to call on — to officially ask a person or organisation to do something
  •  regimentation — organising according to a strict pattern 
  •  follow in his/her footsteps — to do the same things as someone else has done before
  •  not be cut out for something — to not have the right qualities or character to do something
  •  fulfilment — satisfaction or happiness when you achieve something

Part 3

  •  hard to say — there is no easy answer 
  •  stuck behind a desk — having a job which is mostly done at a desk
  •  a white-collar worker — a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, often in an office
  •  breakneck speed — very fast, often dangerously fast
  •  keep pace (with) — to develop or progress at the same speed as something else 
  •  automation — a system that uses machines to do work instead of people 
  •  open up — create a new opportunity or possibility
  •  artificial intelligence — the use of programming to enable machines and computers think and behave in the same way as humans
  •  to be made redundant — to be told to leave a job because you are no longer needed
  •  a job field — a type of work that you do
  •  on the scrapheap — no longer wanted or needed, although still capable of being useful

Practice Your IELTS Work Vocabulary 

Try our new service! Record yourself answering this Part 2 and send it to us for professional feedback? Our feedback is based on the official IELTS Speaking Descriptors and will give you precise information on how to improve.

We will publish the details of this service and its prices soon. In the meantime, you can contact us here if you would like to be one of the first.

Download a free PDF quiz version of this page.

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