Employment in London After Graduating as an International Student


I graduated from my masters at the Bartlett recently, and looking for a job in London after graduating can get a bit nightmarish to be honest, especially if you haven't got any experience in the UK or in a big international practice. I have about 5 years of experience working in architecture (as architect and a BIM specialist), and after obtaining my master I was under the impression that I'm an in really good position to find a job quickly and start my career here in London.

I started applying in the summer to many postings in different websites, as well as getting my CV through people I came to know who work in some of the big practices in London (ZHA, Gensler, Grimshaw, F+P).

I attended about 12 interview in the past 3 months (out of nearly 100 applications sent), out of which most of them would ghost me or say that they were looking for more experienced candidates (then why did you invite me to interview?!). I was able to get just one offer at a practice that is notorious for being quite bad employer (one of the first things they told me during the interview that "sometimes" they work on weekends, which is a red flag for me). I rejected that offer and continued searching, and recently got an offer from Foster+Partners (I was recommended to them by a senior partner who was my tutor at the masters). The salary is not good (I would be making double that back home, but that's a different story and going back is not an option for me now), and I'm too old for this. It feels that I'm starting from zero despite having substantial experience and education. I feel that I have to take this offer as it can be good on my CV and then I would be moving on in a year or two to other practices that suit me better, but another problem is that they are the only ones that are willing to sponsor my worker visa in the UK, which makes tied to them and can't move somewhere else unless I find a sponsor.

I knew a lot of this things before coming here, but I can't help but feel a bit defeated and frustrated, and I have to start working at job that is more suited for a 24 year old maybe. Does anyone have similar experience coming to the UK? and do I have a reason to be optimistic for the (near) future?

Nov 20, 22 12:57 pm

First of all congratulations on your graduation and job offer, F+P is a great firm to work at. I am curious about a few things, but I will start off by discussing the salary issue. The truth is that although I have some past UK experience I am currently working overseas so I don't have an accurate understanding of what the market is like at the moment in the London. 

However, since you already have 5 years of experience under your belt and clearly believe (and assume that you can demonstrate) that you are able to contribute higher commercial value than what your current salary justifies, why didn't you negotiate a higher salary? 

Nov 20, 22 3:15 pm  · 

OP,  would you consider emailing me your portfolio? Sometimes it's who you know.....

Depends on what your experiences are and what companies are looking for. If you received an offer from FP, that is a good start and I would assume some other larger officer that offer Visa sponsorship would follow suit.

Nov 20, 22 7:36 pm  · 

congratulations on graduating)

Nov 21, 22 12:30 pm  · 

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