There are many IELTS writing topics but one of the common ones is employment. This means anything relating to the idea of working. (Of course, it could also be the opposite: unemployment.) In any case, today I will explain how to write an IELTS essay on employment.

We are going to look at two examples of IELTS writing task 2 questions about employment and then I will show you my two sample answers.

IELTS Writing Questions about Employment

The topic of employment could arise almost anywhere in the IELTS exam but it is quite common in task 2 of the writing test. In fact, the scope for what sort of question you could be asked is immense! You could be asked about employment and:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Environment
  • Government
  • Happiness
  • Ethics
  • and much more

In short, you cannot really prepare for this by guessing the questions or having any expectation of a particular topic. Just know that you might have to write an essay about employment and that you will need to read it carefully.

IELTS Essay #1: Self-Employment vs Traditional Employment

First of all, let’s look at an IELTS writing question about self-employment.

Nowadays many people choose to be self-employed, rather than to work for a company or organization.

Why might this be the case?

What could be the disadvantages of being self-employed?

ielts essay on employment

This is a two-part question, which means you should aim to answer both questions in the body of your essay. In a sense, this makes it much easier to understand the question and structure your answer.

However, let’s make sure that we understand it perfectly.

Question analysis

Premise: In the modern era, many people work for themselves. This is different from the past, when they worked for companies.

We have to write about two things:

  1. Why this has happened.
  2. What are the disadvantages.

In a sense, this is a rare instance where the two-part question and the advantages-and-disadvantages question come together! You can see how #1 is sort of asking for the advantages, and #2 specifically asks for disadvantages.

How interesting!

Common Problems

I have often seen my writing correction students make the mistake of confusing freelancing, self-employment, and working from home. There can obviously be some overlap between these but there are also important distinctions:

Self-employedSomeone who works for themselves and does not work for a boss/company.
FreelanceBasically the same thing, but you may hire yourself to other companies.
Working from homeThis may mean you work for a company but they let you use your home as an office.


To answer this question, I would take a pretty simple, four-paragraph structure for my approach. It would look like this:

IntroductionIntroduce the topic
State what my essay will do
Body paragraph 1Explain the advantages/reasons behind self-employment
– Easy to do
– Provides freedom (example: different personality types)
Body paragraph 2Explain disadvantages of self-employment
– Lack of security (example: legal protections)
– Explain
ConclusionSummarise my essay thus far

Sample Band 9 Answer

It is quite common nowadays for people to be self-employed, rather than working for a company or organization. This essay will look into the reasons for that change, and then discuss some of the disadvantages of being self-employed.

In the information era, it is quite possible for people to work at home on their computer. The internet has opened up all sorts of possibilities in terms of making money, and so people may work as freelancers or start their own company. It has never been easier to do this because in the past working for yourself required renting an office or shop, whereas now you can simply set up a website or social media profile. People typically prefer this because it allows them a great deal of freedom. A person who prefers nights and loathes waking up early might choose to conduct their business at night, whereas someone who likes to travel might work from a laptop while visiting different places.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to being unemployed. This sort of employment lacks the security of a traditional job. In most countries, workers are protected by laws that guarantee them certain rights. However, with no employer and no workplace, these laws do not apply. Similarly, traditional jobs provide pension plans and health insurance, but when you work for yourself you have to provide these yourself, and they are not cheap. In fact, most self-employed people simply forego these things and take the risk as a part of their comparatively free life.

In conclusion, being self-employed allows people a far greater degree of freedom in their life, but there are several significant drawbacks that mean this sort of work is not suitable for everyone.

Note: This essay originally appeared here.

IELTS Essay #2: Job Satisfaction

Next, we will look at an IELTS essay on employment that deals specifically with the interesting issue of job satisfaction:

As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual wellbeing.

What factors contribute to job satisfaction?

How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers?

This is another two-part question. What a coincidence!

Question Analysis

In order to understand this question, we can again look closely at its premise:

Premise: Job satisfaction is important for a person’s wellbeing.

You have to write about:

  1. The factors that make people satisfied with their work
  2. Whether or not it is realistic for everyone to achieve job satisfaction

You should aim to write about all of this without straying off topic.

Common Problems

A lot of people seem to misunderstand or overlook the second question, which asks whether it is realistic for everyone to have job satisfaction. This can be a difficult thing to discuss with any depth, but you need to address it as best you can.


Here is how I will plan my IELTS essay about job satisfaction:

IntroductionRe-state the main idea
Explain the purpose of my essay
Body paragraph 1Answer the first question by explaining what leads to job satisfaction:
– A sense of purpose
– Responsibility and autonomy (ie trust)
Body paragraph 2Answer the second question by stating that it is a realistic goal:
– It may seem unrealistic because of focus on money
– However, efforts can be made to improve work conditions
ConclusionSummarise first answer and then second.
It is possible but also not guaranteed.

Sample Band 9 Answer

Although some people think that a high salary is the most important part of a job, the truth is that job satisfaction is probably more important. This essay will look at some of the factors contributing to this, and then argue that it is a reasonable expectation to have some degree of job satisfaction.

Every person is different and so defining job satisfaction is not an easy task. However, it could be stated that in order to provide this to employees, employers must give them a good justification for doing their job. The reason for this is that having a sense of satisfaction with one’s job largely comes from feeling a sense of purpose. People who feel that their efforts are useless or unappreciated invariably feel no job satisfaction. In addition to this, it is important that a person is given some degree of responsibility and autonomy with their tasks. Having a supervisor monitoring every single action presents a lack of trust and creates an atmosphere of oppression. When these two factors are met, they can result in workers who feel satisfied with their positions.

It may seem unlikely that people can achieve this because ever since the industrial revolution, it has been normal for people to work long hours in order to make money to survive, with little thought given to making workers happy or comfortable. However, in the modern world there is no good reason why this cannot be a new target. Employers should strive to give their employees dignity in the workplace, instead of maximizing productivity. Whether this is likely or not depends on social expectations and workplace laws, but it is certainly possible if the effort were made.

In conclusion, job satisfaction occurs when people are given tasks that matter and then offered some degree of responsibility. This could be given to everyone with the right motivation, although it is also possible that it may not happen.


Ok folks, I hope that was helpful for you. Now you can go and write your own IELTS essay on employment. Remember that there are many possible questions and so you should not assume that these two will appear in your next test. Also note that the topic of employment could appear in task 1 as a line graph of employment rates or any other sort of visual representation of employment and unemployment.