It’s a perverse economic reality that some jobs are oversubscribed, while others struggle to attract candidates. The latter can be found on the UK Tier 2 Shortage Occupation list – a route of entry to the UK. TNT examines the jobs on the list, and talks to people who work in them.


If you saw Black Swan, you’ll know how punishing a ballerina’s job can be – and that’s not counting vengeful colleagues. The physicality of walking on your toes all day is just the start.

“You have to be realy dedicated,” says Kerry Birkett, 29, a dancer from Battersea. “You’re constantly in pain, your muscles are always sore, and you miss a lot of family weddings.”

Birkett is a dancer with the English National Ballet. Between gruelling rehearsals, she is planning a wedding with her Russian dancer boyfriend, Zhan Atymtayev.

Skilled classical and contemporary ballet dancers are hard to come by, and Birkett, who was a young gymnast when she was headhunted by the Royal Ballet at 11, can only suggest this is because skill is innate. “You need to be genetically built to dance, and even then, it’s pure natural talent that will separate you from the rest,” she says.
Average pay: from £23,000


The industry around 3D films and lifelike video games is constantly expanding, so it’s little wonder there is a dearth of talent in 2D and 3D animation.

“There’s a certain amount of skill and training required, so you could do a three-year BA in animation, but that’s not long enough to really nail the trade. Most people go on to do a masters,” says Ed Barrett, 28, director of Animade, in London’s Victoria.

“But even then, few people have what it takes. You not only have to have a skill for movement and animation, but you’ve got to turn stuff around quickly. Technology means things can be done quicker, but that also means people want things done now.”

Barret, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, co-founded his company in November 2011, and works on everything from corporate videos to apps – they just released quickfire duelling game app, Ready Steady Bang.

“It’s a fun job. There’s often pressure, but it’s ever changing, so there’s never time to get bored,” he says.
Average pay: £200/day


If you can calculate the odds of someone knowing what an actuary actually is, then you probably are one. Part super-hero, part fortune-teller, part trusted adviser, an actuary uses their stellar analytical skills to help organisations plan for the future and minimise risk.

“You’re required to be very technically, as well as practically, minded, and it takes some time to ge qualified – the exams are very difficult,” says Andreas Tsanakas, 36,a senior lecturer in actuarial science at Cass Business School.

An actuary will usually hold a maths or science degree, before studying between three to six years with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Average pay: from £25,000

Science teacher

Canadian Matt Somers, 34, left Toronto with a degree in biology and a masters in Zoology, plus a bachelors in education, because there was no work for him. However, here in London, he could take his pick of teaching jobs.

“I love that you can get students interested in the world around them,” says Somers, who teaches at Hatch End Academy in
North Harrow.

He adds: “You’re always challenged. Between 8.45am and 3.30pm, I’m essentially performing, acting, and educating, then after that you could say I’m doing my real job of assessments and preparations. The job combines elements of all other subjects – PE, literature, and maths. it’s one of the hardest subjects out there,” he says. 
Average pay: from £26,000 for more information about the shortage occupation list in the United Kingdom.

Other jobs on the shortage list

  • Musician: you’ve got to be good enough to play in internationally recognised UK orchestras.
  • Welder: three or more years of experience is required.
  • Chef/cook: you must have five years of experience and get paid at least £28,260 from your employer.
  • Medical practitioner: the paediatrics field needs specialists
  • Nurse: you’ll fiind work if you specialise in theatres or ICUs
  • Social worker: children and family services need you.
  • Special needs teachers: qualified or not, you’re employable.