Why work in rail

Join an industry that offers varied and exciting careers.

Whether it’s building state-of-the-art stations, designing more energy-efficient trains, or finding innovative ways to keep people safe, there’s a route into rail for everyone.

What is the rail industry?

The rail industry encompasses all aspects of the transportation of goods and passengers by rail. It includes the construction, operation, maintenance and management of rail infrastructure such as tracks, stations and trains. The industry also involves services such as logistics and passenger services.

Rail has been a crucial mode of transportation for centuries, offering an efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly way to move people and goods over long distances. The rail industry plays a vital role in the UK economy – facilitating trade, commuting, tourism and industrial activities.

More than 1 billion rail passenger journeys are made every year. Rail has more than 1,800 organisations which support 710,000 jobs. The industry generates £43 billion annually for the economy – while contributing only 1.4% to the UK’s carbon emissions (other forms of transport contribute a combined 25%). Rail freight alone contributes £2.45bn to the UK economy each year and reduces carbon emissions by 76% per tonne compared to road freight.

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    Billions in investment mean rail needs thousands more professionals over the coming years

    Major projects, as well as modernising infrastructure, enhancing sustainability and the ongoing maintenance of the railway, translate to high demand for workers now and in the future.

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    Rail is a diverse and inclusive industry aiming to have a workforce that represents the passengers it serves

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    Choose from a wide range of roles

    There are so many different types of careers in rail that go beyond the roles you might see using the railway day-to-day. Think project management, business, HR, marketing, IT and more.

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    Transfer your existing skills to a career in the rail industry

    Rail has career options for people of all ages and with many different types of experience.

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    Help build a sustainable future

    Moving people and freight around the country using the railways – rather than roads or planes – will play a crucial role in achieving net zero.

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    Earn a higher than average wage

    The average wage in rail is £42,800 – 22% higher than the UK average wage.

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    Be part of an exciting and innovative industry

    The railway is almost 200 years old – so it has a rich history of innovation and advancement. Developing and implementing new technologies is part of what we do every day.

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    Travel the country as part of your work

    With major rail projects being rolled out around the country and the ongoing maintenance of the railways, there is demand no matter where you are based.  

Careers for everyone

Rail is a truly open, diverse and inclusive environment, harnessing the skills and expertise of all our people and attracting the best talent to help us have a safe, accessible railway for everyone.

Rail is committed to proactively and positively impacting the communities it serves, especially when it comes to employment. Local talent is vital to the work rail does – developing local skills is a necessity to ensure the railway keeps moving.

While there is still some way to go, the rail sector has seen the percentage of women employed in rail grow from 8% to 17% in the last 5 years.

Rail offers many opportunities for people with disabilities, both visible and invisible, and people who are neurodivergent – so it makes an ideal choice for so many people’s careers.

“We will work to increase the diversity of our workforce so that we represent the passengers that we serve up and down the country – because everyone matters.” Andrew Haynes, Chief Executive of Network Rail