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If you are interested in a career in occupational psychology then work experience will certainly be expected.  However, there isn’t necessarily one type of employment experience which is favoured, what is most important is that you develop commercial awareness and gain an understanding of the realities of employment. 

Occupational psychologists work across different economic sectors, with a large number employed in the Civil Service, so work experience in different sectors can be helpful (e.g. retail, manufacturing, public sector). They work in three main areas: organisational consultancy; recruitment, assessment and training; ergonomics/health and safety. 

Whatever type of work you do, pay attention to the recruitment and selection procedures of the organisation, their management policies and practices, and the working environment.  Consider what the challenges are within particular organisations or sectors, e.g. staff motivation, high staff turnover, mergers, introduction of new technology.  

Take advantage of as many opportunities as you can to undertake research or gain work experience in any of these areas. The Occupational Psychology section of the following Careers information sheet will help you to identify opportunities:

Other useful resources

The BPS Division of Occupational Psychology web pages include information on the key areas of work, which is useful to consider in relation to work experience.

Human Resource management can be a good way to build up relevant knowledge, but other management related roles are also useful. Management consultancy can also give you experience of working on a range of projects with different organisations. Opportunities are widely advertised but useful websites include York Careers; Prospects. You can also meet employers on campus at recruitment fairs and events.

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