Locuming as an SHO: Which Region Has the Most Work?
To help you maximise your chances of getting the work you want as a locum Senior House Officer (SHO), it's important to know where to look. With that in mind, in which UK regions can you expect to find the most work?
Here at Messly, we help doctors find locum work from the very best locum agencies. In 2021, saw over 40,000 individual locum jobs being offered to doctors on the Messly platform, almost 23,000 of which were for SHOs.
We’ve analysed the data and figured out which UK regions have the greatest demand for locum SHOs, to help you increase your supply of job opportunities.
🧮 The Data
The 22,940 locum SHO jobs added to Messly in 2021 were spread out across 56 different specialties in total. The chart below breaks these down by UK regions for you.
You can see the exact number of jobs in each specialty and region by tapping or hovering your mouse over the graph.
Please note, these numbers are based on the data collected from the Messly service, and so the total number within each region, although proportionately reflective, will be higher.
Locum SHO Jobs by Region
This chart includes all UK mainland regions.
The total number of jobs in London was 5,279, which is 23% of the UK’s total. This is broken down as follows:
🧭 South London (8%)
🧭 East London (7%)
🧭 West London (5%)
🧭 North London (3%)
Whilst London has the most locum job opportunities, it also has a very large number of doctors. As a result, the job market for locums in London is extremely competitive and it can be difficult to find work.
Another important issue to consider is the pan-London rate cap, which puts a limit on the rates hospitals are able to pay locums in London. You can learn about this in our related article here.
👍 The regions with the most available work
Outside of London, the regions with the most available work are:
👍 The North West (4,171)
👍 The West Midlands (2,484)
👍 The South East (2,228)
Together these account for 39% of the UK’s total locum jobs.
If you’re looking to increase your options and find more opportunities for SHO locum roles, it would be beneficial to consider travelling to any of these three regions for work if you're able to.
👎 The regions with the least available work
The regions with the lowest volume of work were Northern Ireland (473), the East of England (714) and the North East (780). Together these only account for 8% of total locum SHO jobs in the UK.
It's worth mentioning, though, that although the number for Northern Ireland may seem low, they have plenty of agencies securing regular work for locum doctors there, and have an excellent retention rate which might skew these numbers slightly.
✨ Our Tips For Securing More Locum Work
Working as a locum doctor can be tough if you find yourself in a position where you need to work more regularly than you're currently able to. Whether you're looking to earn more money, or just want to be working on a more regular basis, here are some helpful tips to increase your locum opportunities.
Be as flexible as possible
When it comes to locuming, the more flexible you can be the better. If you’re willing to work anti-social hours, such as weekends, night shifts, and on-call shifts, you’ll be able to find more work. You’ll also be in higher demand as a locum, which will allow you to command higher rates for your services.
Being flexible with the locations you work in will also give you a wider range of job opportunities, as you'll have more areas to choose from.
Make sure your CV stands out
If you want to succeed as a locum, one of the most important things to do is ensure your CV stands out from the competition. Make sure your CV is fully up-to-date, and always tailor it to be specific to each role and specialty you're applying for at the time.
As doctors, most of us tend to be quite poor at writing CVs, so to make this easier for you we've produced a detailed guide to writing an outstanding CV for locum doctors.
Cast a wider net
An easy way to tap into a wider range of locum shifts is to work with a number of different locum recruitment agencies and staff banks.
Each agency will have slightly different access to shifts and hospitals, so we’d recommend signing up to at least two or three to have plenty of choice. It’s also a good idea to join one or two staff banks. Locum shifts with staff banks tend to be more ad-hoc, but they'll still give you a chance to pick up some extra local shifts any time the number of opportunities your agencies provide temporarily falls.
For a full deep dive into how to maximise your locum rates, read our related article here.
Start working in a new specialty
If you're considering locuming in a new specialty to be able to increase the amount of opportunities available, we’ve written some detailed guides to help doctors prepare for their first shifts in each one.
📖 Tips for Locuming in a New Specialty – Obstetrics and Gynaecology
📖 Tips for Locuming in a New Specialty – General Medicine
📖 Tips for Locuming in a New Specialty – Paediatrics
📖 Tips for Locuming in a New Specialty – General Surgery
📖 Tips for Locuming in a New Specialty – Trauma and Orthopaedics
📖 Tips for Locuming in a New Specialty – Emergency Medicine
🎯 How Messly Can Help
Messly is a faster, simpler, and more transparent way to find locum work. We make the very best locum agencies compete to find you the work you want.
How does it work? Firstly, you create your profile in the app, and specify exactly what kind of locum work you want, what rates you expect, how far you’ll travel, whether you’ll work anti-social hours, and more. It works for doctors of all grades, across the whole of the UK, for work in the NHS and private sectors.
You’ll then receive offers of locum work from locum agencies. You see real shifts with hospital details, rates, and rotas, all matched specifically to your preferences, plus ratings of those agencies from other doctors.
You can then choose which shifts you want to accept, using the app to compare rates and travel distances, and reading the recruiters’ pitches to you.
When you see an opportunity you like, you can then schedule a convenient time to speak to the agency. Only then do you share your contact information, and only ever with the agencies you’ve selected, so you won’t get any unwanted emails or phone calls.
We’ll then help you through the registration process, so you can start working quickly and without any hassle.
By giving you access to locum work from all the best agencies, you stand a much better chance of earning the highest rates, with less travel, and your pick of departments.
To learn more, or to get started, check out our locum service here.
🔎 Notes on Methodology
The data above is based on an analysis of locum jobs added to Messly since January 1, 2021. Jobs are only added by pre-vetted locum agencies who have been approved to join Messly. Each job is added with a lower rate and upper rate to show the range within which the job pays.
Before jobs are added to Messly, they're checked by our team, and erroneous rates are investigated so jobs can be removed if their rates can't be verified.
The data in this chart shows the average of the lower and upper rates, to give the most common pay range available for each specialty.
Only specialties with more than 100 shifts have been added to the chart. GP data is not included due to our low sample size.
This article is part of our Locum Data Hub, a collection of data-driven guides and resources that explore the numbers behind locuming, helping you solve challenges with things such as pay, budgeting, job searches, and much more.
For a comprehensive list of articles designed to support you as a locum doctor, visit our Locum Doctor Hub for everything you need to know about locuming today. Covering areas such as getting started as a locum, finances, understanding your rights, and many more.
Additionally, if you're considering an F3 year, you might also find it useful to look through the selection of resources we've put together in our F3 Resource Hub.
Find locum work on your terms
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