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  • Work is anything that requires effort to achieve a result.
  • Work can be divided into three categories: unpaid work, employment and volunteerism.

Unpaid Work

  • Unpaid work is any work undertaken for no financial gain. For example, being a stay at home parent.

Features of Unpaid Work

  • No payment is received for the work.
  • The work benefits the worker, their family or their friends.
  • There is usually no formal structure to the work.

Benefits of Unpaid Work 

  • Learning new information and skills
  • Doing something you enjoy.
  • The satisfaction of achieving a goal.


  • Employment is any work done in return for payment.
  • An employed person may be hired to work for someone else or may work for themselves.
  • A person who works for someone else in return for payment is called and employee. For example, office workers.
  • An employer is someone who pays people to work for them.

Features of Being an Employee 

  • A wage or salary is received in return for the work.
  • Employees have certain rights and responsibilities.

Benefits of Being an Employee

  • Regular payment.
  • Possible benefits-in-kind. Foe example a company car.


  • Self-employment means working for yourself.

Features of Self-employment

  • Full responsibility for all aspects of the business.
  • No set work hours.
  • There is risk of loosing money if the business is not making any profit.

Benefits of Self-employment

  • Being your own boss.
  • Doing something you enjoy.
  • Making all the decisions.
  • Keeping all the profits.
  • Choosing your own working hours.


  • Volunteerism is the practise of volunteering time and energy without payment, in order to benefit society.

Features of Volunteerism

  • Voluntary work is a choice.
  • There is no payment for the work.
  • The work benefits other people, within the local community or in wider society.
  • Voluntary work is not a substitute for employment.

Benefits of Volunteerism

  • Learning new skills.
  • The satisfaction of helping others.
  • It may help you get a job in the future.
  • Playing an active role in the community.