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Working in the UK

Whether you are a UK planner hoping to work overseas or an overseas planner wanting to work in the UK, the basic advice is the same: you need to be in the country when job-hunting. (And if you are a UK planner looking for overseas experience, you are on the wrong page: you need to be here!)

Quite apart from the need to respond rapidly when a vacancy occurs, which is hard to do if you are a long distance away, jobs are never offered without a face-to-face interview, so the final stages of your search for work will have to take place here. We suggest that planners take any opportunity they can, including holidays, family visits, conferences or short study tours, to visit Britain to research the possibilities. There may be visa and work permit complications which mean that it is easier to come first as a tourist to research the employment market. 


We do not advise on immigration and work permits, as individual planners circumstances vary so widely. The place to start researching this topic is the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office (Interior Ministry), and its Visas and Work Permits divisions. All this is explained on a special Home Office website for people interested in working here.

Long-distance research

It may be expensive to organise a short visit, and time-consuming to plan a long one, so some of the basic research will have to be done while still at home. Surfing the Internet for UK planning consultancies(using expressions such as town and country planning or land-use planning to narrow down the search if necessary) should lead you to the names of British consultancy companies and university departments. RTPI publishes an annual Directory of Planning Consultants: on its website you will find details of planning consultancies listed by town/city, by county and by speciality.

To find names and addresses of local authorities(councils) in an area which interests you, go to the official UK Government information website for a complete alphabetical listing with links. Note that the names of UK local authorities do not always correspond to familiar names of towns and cities, so you may find the search option useful. For example, London consists of the City of London, the City of Westminster, and 31 other Boroughs from Barking & Dagenham to Wandsworth. Similarly, Greater Manchester covers ten metropolitan authorities including the cities of Manchester and Salford and the Boroughs of Tameside, Oldham, Bury etc (see the website for the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities). 

Contact details for University departments are also given in the Education & Careers section of the RTPI website. Many offer short courses as well as full-length undergraduate and/or graduate courses.


The national broad-sheet newspapers (The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and Daily Telegraph) print advertisements for public-sector appointments one day a week. For example, the Society supplement to The Guardian comes out on Wednesdays and you can read the job vacancies online. The new website for the RTPI monthly magazine The Planner features The Planner Jobs.

Finding out more

RTPI membership

The RTPI web-pages on planning policy are a good way to find Institute comments on new and proposed government legislation, regular reports on UK planning policy and practice, and detailed information on specific topics such as sustainable development. Latest news is in the Briefing Room and the Knowledge section is full of interesting and topical material. 

RTPI Networks: Our Networks and Associations provide timely, authoritative and wide-ranging information on activities, initiatives and events in specialised areas such as Transport, Urban Design, Planning Research, Rural Planning, Housing and International Development. They also provide a network for Young Planners and chartered town planners in private consultancy. 

Government policy:the planning area of the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) website carries interesting and useful information on UK planning, including full texts of much important legislation, briefings, news and practical guidance. The Planning Portal also gives you rapid access to news, documents, detailed guidance and even a glossary of planning terminology from Accessibility to Zone of Visual Influence. 

Recruitment (Employment) Agencies

A number of UK-based recruitment agencies can assist in locating jobs in local authorities, property development companies and other employers of planners. Many advertise in our official magazine, The Planner. Please see:


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