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Work and Professions: Vocabulary, Expressions, Idioms and Phrases

Work and Professions

The sentence contains the basic elements that make it a sentence: the subject, the verb, and the complete thought.

Therefore, one of the quick ways to learn English is through sentences, in this lesson you will know work and professions vocabulary, expressions, idioms and phrases.


Work and professions vocabulary


Here is the list of work and professions vocabulary with their meaning and examples in English:

1. Agenda: A list of items to be discussed at a formal meeting. noun

  • There are several items on the agenda for today’s meeting.

2. Application: A letter or form with details of your qualifications, skills, experience. noun

  • An application for leave.

3. Apprentice: Works for a skilled employer in order to learn a trade. noun

  • An apprentice electrician.

4. Background: A person’s education, qualifications and/or work experience. noun

  • She has a background in nursing.

5. Bonus: Money added to someone’s wages, especially as a reward for good work. noun

  • We pay performance bonuses that augment your annual salary.

6. Budget: An estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. noun

  • The marketing budget will be announced in the next meeting.

7. Capital: Wealth in the form of money or other assets owned by a person or organization or available or contributed for a particular purpose such as starting a company or investing. noun

  • Rates of return on invested capital were high.

8. Collaborate: Work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something. verb

  • A British company collaborated with a French firm to develop the product.

9. Collaborative: Produced or conducted by two or more parties working together. adjective

  • Collaborative research.

10. Collaboration: The action of working with someone to produce or create something. noun

  • He wrote on art and architecture in collaboration with John Betjeman.

11. Committed: To describe how much someone loves their work and works as hard as they can to be successful. adjective

  • A committed reformer.

12. Competitor: A person who takes part in an athletic contest. noun

  • Our major competitor is able to offer much lower prices.

13. Compete: Strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same. verb

  • Universities are competing for applicants.

14. Competition: The activity or condition of competing. noun

  • There is fierce competition between banks.

15. Retailer: A person or business that sells goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale. noun

  • Many high-street retailers are closing stores due to competition from online outlets.

16. Consultant: A person who provides expert advice professionally. noun

  • He now works as an IT consultant in various organisations.

17. To consult: Seek information or advice from (someone with expertise in a particular area). verb

  • You should consult a financial advisor.

18. Consulting: The business of giving expert advice to other professionals, typically in financial and business matters. noun

  • Preference will be given to applicants with some experience in consulting for industry.

19. Core business: The business activity that is main source of a company's profits and success, usually the activity that the company was originally set up to carry out

  • The company has decided to focus on their core business – affordable fashion.

20. Coworking: The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.

  • The whole idea of coworking is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas collide.

21. Shared workspace: Shared workspace is that people don’t have the isolation of working from home or in a noisy café. noun

  • Additionally, there is support here for checking that a file has no more revision marks or other private information, and for distributing the file to a shared workspace.

22. Creditor: A person or company to whom money is owed. noun

  • We need to pay our creditors by the end of next month.

23. Crowdfunding: The practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the internet.

  • They raised money for the film through crowdfunding.

24. Curriculum vitae (CV):  A short written description of a university teacher’s previous jobs and work, that they send when looking for a new teaching job. noun

  • Send a curriculum vitae and the names of two referees.

25. Deadline: The latest time or date by which something should be completed. noun

  • He’s met all of his important deadlines this month.

26. Dedicated: Another adjective similar in meaning to ‘committed’. Dedicated means that an individual will do all that he/she can to fulfil his targets, achieve his goals and will not let anything else get in the way.

  • A team of dedicated doctors.

27. Digital strategy: Is the application of digital technologies to business models to form new differentiating business capabilities.

  • Digital strategy involves the use of new technologies to maximise a company’s competitive advantage.

28. Dismiss: Remove or discharge from employment.

  • The prime minister dismissed five members of his cabinet.

29. Disruption: Disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process. noun 

  • The schedule was planned to minimize disruption.

30. Disruptive: Causing or tending to cause disruption. 

  • Airbnb, Netflix and Uber are examples of disruptive brands that have created new markets.

31. Diversify: Make or become more diverse or varied. verb

  • The company has diversified into new product areas.

32. Diversification: The action of diversifying something or the fact of becoming more diverse. 

  • Growers should start planning diversification of crops.

33. Economies of scale: Are cost advantages companies experience when production becomes efficient, as costs can be spread over a larger amount of goods.

  • Bigger companies that operate globally often benefit from economies of scale.

34. Emerging markets: Is the economy of a developing nation that is becoming more engaged with global markets as it grows.

  • Emerging markets such as Mexico and Indonesia are popular with traders as they tend to experience fast growth.

35. Employee: Someone who is paid to work for someone else. noun

  • How many employees does the firm have?

36. Employer: A person, company, or organization that employs people. noun

  • The National Health Service was the largest employer in Europe.

37. Entrepreneur: These entrepreneurs made their money in technology and media.

  • Many entrepreneurs see potential in this market.

38. Expand: Become or make larger or more extensive. 

  • We’re planning to expand our sales division next year, so we’ll be hiring 100 new staff.

39. Expansion: The action of becoming larger or more extensive.

  • The rapid expansion of suburban Washington.

40. Flexitime: A system that allows people to choose the time they start and finish their work. noun

  • 25% of the employees work flexitime.

41. Freelance: Earn one's living as a freelance. verb

  • He freelanced for the BBC and regional companies.

42. Full-time: Work a full number of hours considered normal or standard. noun

  • Wilson headed in the equaliser just before the full-time whistle.

43. Gig economy: A way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for an employer. noun

  • In a gig economy, workers are paid for the “gigs” that they do, such as couriers for delivery companies.

44. Go public: Going public is the process of selling shares that were formerly held privately and are now available to new investors for the first time. verb 

  • Many private companies go public by selling shares on the stock exchange.

45. Hire: Employ someone. verb

  • Management hired and fired labor in line with demand.

46. HR / Human resources: The personnel of a business or organization, especially when regarded as a significant asset. noun

  • As an HR professional, I specialise in training and development.

47. Impact: An impinging. noun

  • Social networks are making a huge impact on sales.

48. Internship: A student or recent graduate who works for a period of time to gain practical experience. noun

  • They encouraged students to apply for newspaper internships.

49. Interview: An oral examination of a candidate for a job. noun

  • I had an interview for a job with a publisher.

50. Invest: Provide or endow someone or something with (a particular quality or attribute). verb

  • It’s important for companies to invest in their staff.

51. Investment: The act of putting money, effort, time, etc. into something to make a profit or get an advantage, or the money, effort, time, etc. used to do this. noun

  • The government wanted an inflow of foreign investment.

52. Launch: start or set in motion (an activity or enterprise). verb

  • They’re launching their new product tomorrow.

53. Leadership: Her leadership style has been described as democratic as she asks for input and considers feedback from her team before making a decision. noun

  • Different styles of leadership.

54. Lead: To control a group of people, a country, or a situation. verb

  • I think we've chosen the right person to lead the expedition.

55. Maternity leave: Period of absence from work when having a baby. 

  • The company granted her maternity leave.

56. Merger: A combination of two things, especially companies, into one. noun

  • The merger between these two companies has created the world’s second biggest carmaker.

57. Merge: To cause to combine, unite, or coalesce. verb

  • Merged the two companies.

58. Multinational: A large corporation with operations and subsidiaries in several countries. noun

  • Tesco is one of the biggest multinationals in the UK.

59. Network: Conferences provide a great opportunity to network. noun

  • A trade network.

60. Notice: Advance warning of intention to resign. 

  • The sales manager suddenly gave notice and headed for Acapulco.

61. Outsource: Obtain (goods or a service) from an outside or foreign supplier, especially in place of an internal source. verb

  • Companies may choose to outsource their IT support in order to reduce costs.

62. Outsourcing: Outsourcing is a business practice in which services or job functions are farmed out to a third party. noun

  • When a company starts outsourcing, it must break down duties into smaller tasks.

63. Insourcing: The practice of using an organization's own personnel or other resources to accomplish a task that was previously outsourced. noun

  • She specializes in mergers and acquisitions, insourcing/outsourcing, and managing global teams.

64. Overheads: Business expenses, such as rent, that are not directly attributable to any department or product and can therefore be assigned only arbitrarilyAlso called: burden, fixed costs, indirect costs, oncost Compare prime cost. noun 

  • Overheads, or ongoing business expenses, include rent, utilities and insurance.

65. Overtime: Work more than the number of hours required by contract. noun

  • Fewer opportunities for overtime.

66. Part-time: Work fewer hours of days than is considered standard. noun

  • A lot of companies are hiring people part time to save money.

67. Perk: Something additional to regular salary. noun

  • Many agencies are helping to keep personnel at their jobs by providing perks.

68. Project: A large or major undertaking, especially one involving considerable money, personnel, and equipment. 

  • I’m working on an exciting new project.

69. Redundancy pay: Compensation received when you are asked to leave because your job is no longer needed. noun

  • Laid-off miners will receive between 12 and 20 months redundancy pay.

70. Reach out: Attempt to communicate. phrasal verb

  • You can also reach out to a talent agency for advice if you are not sure exactly what would fit you.

71. Reliable: Someone you can depend on. noun

  • The supporting cast includes old reliables like Mitchell.

72. Revenue: Income, especially when of a company or organization and of a substantial nature. noun

  • We really need to increase our revenue from ticket sales.

73. Sector: An area or portion that is distinct from others. noun

  • Salaries in the public sector have fallen again.

74. Shareholder: An owner of shares in a company. noun

  • Shareholders own shares in a company and are usually paid dividends when the company makes a profit.

75. Shift work: In a 24-hour day, set periods of time during which different groups of people work. noun 

  • In shift work, a schedule usually employs a recurring shift plan.

76. Skill set: A person's range of skills or abilities. noun

  • We offered her the job as she has the right skills set for it.

77. Staff: All the people employed by a particular organization. noun

  • 10 members of staff are attending the conference.

78. Stakeholder: A person or group of people who own a share in a business. noun

  • Stakeholders of a company include employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders and the local community.

79. Start-up: A person or group the action or process of setting something in motion. noun

  • Many start-ups fail in their first year because there is little or no market for their product.

80. Sustainability noun / Sustainable adjective : The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

  • High-sustainability organisations take into account environmental and social performance of the company, as well as financial performance.

81. Takeover: An act of assuming control of something, especially the buying out of one company by another. noun

  • They sought a controlling interest rather than a takeover.

82. Take over: To begin to have control of something. phrasal verb

  • Employees are often concerned about losing their jobs when a bigger company takes over their firm.

83. Take off: It increases or becomes popular very quickly.

  • Her business has really taken off.

84. Team-player: A person who plays or works well as a member of a team or group. noun

  • She has all the qualities of an excellent team-player.

85. Trainee: A person who is practising the skills of a particular job or profession. noun 

  • We have three new trainees in the accounting department.

86. Unemployment benefits: Social welfare payments made by the state to unemployed people who meet the required conditions. noun

  • They also collect about $ 300 a week in unemployment benefit.

87. Work to rule: working the hours according to your contract but not doing anything more. verb

  • So far, the refuse collectors have not resorted to a strike but are working to rule.

88. Workaholic: A person who compulsively works hard and long hours. noun

  • A self-confessed workaholic, Tony Richardson can't remember when he last had a holiday.

89. Worker: A person who does a particular job to earn money. noun

  • Many companies still treat their management staff better than their workers.

English expressions related to work

Here is the list of job expressions with their meaning and examples in English:

1. Added value: Is the difference between the price of a product or service and the cost of producing it.

  • With her experience and contacts, the new Business Development Manager clearly offers added value.

2. Balance sheet: A balance sheet reports a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity at a given point in time.

  • He couldn't explain the irregularities in the balance sheet, and I suspect him of taking the money.

3. Board of directors: Is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders.

  • She currently sits on the board of directors.

4. Brand awareness: the extent to which consumers are familiar with the qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services. 

  • A campaign to increase brand awareness.

5. Close a deal: To make an agreement official We were about to close.

  • After months of negotiations, we finally closed the deal.

6. Conference call: A telephone call by which a caller can speak with several people at the same time.

  • Conference calls have reduced the need for business travel.

7. People person: Person who has great social skills, and loves interacting with people.

  • Donna was a people person. She was warm, outgoing, and an excellent listener.

8. To take time off work: Most people in work (a job) get specific days off as holidays.

  • He spun some tale about needing to take time off work because his mother was ill.

9. To be up to your eyes in something: To be very busy doing something

  • I’m up to my eyes in work this week, I have to finish this report before month-end.

10. To be snowed under: To have too much work to deal with

  • We don’t have enough employees in our department, everybody is completely snowed under.

11. Working conditions: The working environment and aspects of an employee's terms and conditions of employment.

  • The miners demonstrated for better working conditions.

12. Working schedule: This is the timetable or the duties you have to complete daily.  

  • Could accept double shift working time, could be flexible for the working schedule.

13. Win-win: A situation or result that is beneficial/good for everyone (involved).

  • Flexible working hours are a win-win situation for employers and employees. 

Idiomatic expressions about work and employment

Here is the list of job idioms with their meaning and examples in English:


1. A foot in the door: Manage to enter an organization, a field of business,… that could bring you success.

  • The bondholding may help the firm get its foot in the door to win the business.

2. All In A Day’s Work (Excl.): That’s what I’m here for; although I have accomplished something, it is part of what I’m expected to do. 

  • Jim, you really did well on that presentation! – Oh, all in a day’s work!

3. Burn the Candle at Both Ends: Work very long hours.

  • I’ve been working two jobs so we can buy a car, but I’m very tired. I’m burning the candle at both ends.

4. Crunch the numbers: Do a lot of calculations.

  • When we sat down to crunch the numbers we realized that we couldn't afford a new car.

5. Cash cow: The part of a business that always makes a profit and that provides money for the rest of the business.

  • Traditional cash cows like cars and VCRs.

6. Eager beaver: An enthusiastic person who works very hard.

  • When she first started working she was a real eager beaver.

7. Go into administration: when a company becomes insolvent and is put under the management of Licensed Insolvency Practitioners.

  • The company has gone into administration as it is unable to pay back its debts.

8. Golden handshake: A large sum of money that is given to somebody when they leave their job, or persuade them to leave their job

  • Usually, you will be more concerned with compensation for loss of office colloquially known as a golden handshake.

9. Give Someone The Old Heave-Ho: Fire someone, remove someone from a group or team.

  • Linda hasn’t done a bit of work in months. I think it’s time we gave her the old heave-ho.

10. Get the Sack/ Be Sacked: To be fired. (Note: “Be sacked” is known and understood on the USA, but “get the sack” is much less common.)

  • I just got the sack, and so did 20 other people. I have three hours pack up my things and leave the office.

11. Going forward: From now on. In the future.

  • I don't want to go forward without a contract.

12. Have a lot on your plate: You have a lot of work and responsibilities at the moment

  • With three kids and a full-time job, she’s got enough on her plate already.

13. Hold the fort: Have the responsibility for something or care of somebody while other people are away.

  • She’s holding the fort while the manager’s on holiday.

14. Hanging by a Thread: In great danger of elimination or failure 

  • After you botched a third sales presentation, your job is hanging by a thread -you really need to improve.

15. Learn the Ropes: Become more familiar with a job or field of endeavor; be trained.

  • It will take me several months to learn the ropes, but I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with my performance.

16. Make redundant: Dismiss because of not being needed.

  • More than 200 of the company's employees have already been made redundant.

17. Move Up in the World: Become more successful.

  • You’re driving a Lexus now. I can see you’re moving up in the world.

18. Out of Work: Unemployed 

  • I’ve been out of work since December. Hope I find a new job soon!

19. Off the Hook: Free from blame or responsibility to do something. (Note: You can also be “on the hook.”)

  • Jason said he’d finish the project tonight, so you’re off the hook.

20. Put something off: You delay doing it.

  • I must talk to her about this. I can’t put it off any longer.

21. Pink Slip: A layoff notice; loss of a job, typically because of layoffs.

  • After teaching for ten years in that district, I got a pink slip last Tuesday.

22. Rank and File: The ordinary members of an organization.

  • Labor leaders announced that they have agreed to a new contract, but the rank and file still don’t like it.

23. Think outside the box: Thinking differently, creatively, outside of normal possibilities. 

  • The team always thinks outside the box to come up with unique advertisements for all its clients.

24. Walking paper: The letter or notice dismissing somebody from a job.

  • The reporter has been given his walking papers.

Common phrases used at work


Here are common phrases used at work in English:

  1. My employer took me out for a good lunch.
  2. I assume that all is progressing well.
  3. This is very good news.
  4. This would not cause us any problems at all.
  5. We look forward to hearing from you again on this situation.
  6. I was tidying up our study last week.
  7. It appears to be.
  8. I spent more time going over things than actually producing new work.
  9. to be familiar with something to sort out one's problem.
  10. My expertise is constantly in demand.
  11. I am very busy at work at the moment trying to complete important projects.
  12. We would not have ignored your situation, if we were aware of it.
  13. Against all my earlier predictions I am now getting so excited about it and I am counting the following months.
  14. I promise not mention it to you again until next year when it becomes a reality. 

See: Congratulations Message to Employees




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