Jobs on St Helena

You want to work here?

Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice and need.

Want to live here but need to work to support yourself? Read on…

This page is in indexes: Island Detail

Jobs on St Helena Saint Helena Island Info

Please note: the following is our understanding of the applicable laws, but we are not legal advisors and anyway the regulations change periodically. Please check your facts with the Government of St Helena before making any decisions. Here are some useful links.

We have assumed below that you have already read our Could you live here? page.

Below: Stop reading if you’re independently wealthy!Finding a job on St HelenaStarting your own businessRead More

Stop reading if you’re independently wealthy! 

Independently wealthy Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St Helena

If you have the financial means to support yourself on St Helena without working, you need read no further. You do not have to work here to live here, as long as you can demonstrate to the Government of St Helena that you can support yourself by other means.

But, for most of us, work is part of life…

Finding a job on St Helena 

Before reading further ask youself: What special skills do I (or my partner) have that St Helena might need? If you don’t have a good answer to that question you may be wasting your time reading further. We already have plenty of unskilled and semi-skilled people. What we need are people with skills. For example, business managers; anything to do with electronics or computers; secondary-education teachers; medical professionals; etc. If you can’t offer something it is not likely you could find a job here.

Working here Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St Helena
Job advert Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St Helena

Jobs are advertised each week in the St Helena Independent and also regularly on the Government of St Helena website (but note that most jobs advertised on the Government of St Helena website are short-term contract jobs). Although there are usually plenty on offer, you probably will not qualify to apply for any of them. As a non-Saint you can only take an advertised job if no Saint wants it, even if you are better qualified than they are.

You can become a Saint, by acquiring ‘St Helena Status’, but to do so you have first to live here (somehow supporting yourself) for five years and have no criminal record{1}. Also, at present, time spent working for Government of St Helena on a short-term contract does NOT qualify towards your five years.

For that reason most immigrants start their own business (see below).

If you want to try contacting the larger employers on St Helena, they are as follows:

  • Government of St Helena employs around 80% of the island’s workforce, but normally only employs non-Saints for short-term positions. They operate a recruitment website at sthelenacareers.com.

  • Solomon & Company is the second largest employer, with around 400 staff. It has a variety of business interests including farming, retail, construction and vehicle maintenance.

  • Thorpe’s is the only other employer of any size. It is primarily involved in retail/wholesale and farming.

We have excluded Basil Read from this list. The Airport Project is complete and although Basil Read is undertaking other construction projects on St Helena no new jobs are likely to be available.

A few warnings

Please be aware that the legal framework for working on St Helena is not perhaps what you would expect. Most UK legislation does not apply (or has been explicitly ‘dis-applied’) here. So in St Helena it is still legal to sack someone for no reason and other things that would be unthinkable in the UK and Europe. Work is underway to address these issues - equal pay legislation was introduced in 2016{2} - but progress is slow. In recent years legislation was passed requiring all employers to provide written contracts of employment, but this is not enforced and many employers still do not. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of your employment before accepting a job on St Helena.

While St Helena does have some legislation which covers equal rights and protects against discrimination there are many gaps and too many opportunities for some forms of abuse. Equality legislation covering ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability is covered in our Constitution but it only refers to government, their employees and government-owned entities.

People working in the private sector do not have the same rights and protection. It is entirely legal to advertise a job vacancy stating that anyone over 25, or homosexuals, or anyone born in the UK, or anyone who is not a practicing Christian, need not apply.

Employment legislation does concern itself with unfair dismissal but ignores the principle that everyone doing the same work should get the same pay - women continue to be paid less than men when doing exactly the same job{3}. There is no recourse to law for people suffering from sexual harassment or bullying.{a}

Starting your own business 

Your own business? Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St Helena

If you have plans to start your own business here, or buy into an existing business{4}, you should first contact:

  • Enterprise St Helena, the official government body that deals with ‘inward investors’; and/or

  • burghhouse.com Burgh House opens in a new window or tab Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St HelenaBurgh House, an independent business support company that also helps potential inward investors.

There are few rules constraining what your business can do{5}, so think imaginatively. A business that would grow to employ local people would be particularly attractive.

But please: if your idea is to come here and open a guest-house/hotel/etc. be aware that the island is currently deluged with people having the exactly this idea. Unless you have a unique approach, probably best to think of another idea.

Read More 

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

Article: Irresistible job on sub-tropical isle

Published in The Banker, July 2004{6}

The Bank of St Helena is looking for a lending officer who wants to get away from it all{7}

St Helena Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St Helena
St Helena: don’t think of exile, think of starting up a lending business

Napoleon Bonaparte ended his days in exile in St Helena, a worthy claim to fame. This 410km² British Dependent Territory may have only about 4,000 residents but since April 1st it has boasted its very own government-owned commercial bank.

The Bank of St Helena is a unique institution. Setting up the bank on the sub-tropical island in the south Atlantic was subject to unique circumstances. The idea of offering both savings and current accounts, for example, was quickly abandoned when it became clear that it would take too long to educate the population about the difference between the accounts. Until then, cash had been king.

The next stage for the bank is to start lending. To date, 12 loans have been granted with an average value of £2,000. But recruiting top staff is a problem. The bank is looking for a chief lending officer who could become the next managing director in May 2005 when the current incumbent returns to the UK. (Although The Banker does not generally run job ads, we found this one irresistible and hope the successful candidate will keep us informed of progress.)

A suitable candidate would probably be paid more than £20,000 plus accommodation. Not a major amount, but of interest perhaps to a retired bank manager who likes the idea of getting away from it all - the island is only accessible by ship and it takes at least a week to travel to St Helena from either Ascension Island or Cape Town in South Africa.

When it comes to housing loans, the government’s policy to date has been not to foreclose on mortgages because evicting someone from a house for non-payment simply transferred the problem to social services since there are no facilities on the island for housing such families. If in future the bank were to foreclose on a mortgage, they would literally be putting the family on the street, says Alan Savery who set up the bank and is now chairman of the Banking Supervisory Authority. (Supervised banks: Bank of St Helena). He was formerly with the Bank of England and HSBC.

Closing Humour Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St Helena

Laugh at funny Jobs on St Helena humour LOL Saint Helena Island Info


{a} Vince Thompson, in the St Helena Independent, 17th Jaunary 2014{6}


{1} The Governor can grant Status in a lesser period if s/he considers it to be ‘in the interests of the island’ so if you don’t want to wait five years, make friends with The Governor!

{2} Approximately 40 years after the same was made law in the UK.

{3} This was corrected in 2016, though as yet no formal mechanism exists for determining if two jobs are equivalent.

{4} Though be aware that most local businesses are very small - under 5 people - so inward investors are not normally considered.

{5} Making pornography and gambling/gaming are notable exceptions.

{6} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.

{7} Obviously this job is no longer available but it was the method by which we, the Turner family, arrived on St Helena. Read more at: family.burghhouse.com The Turner Family opens in a new window or tab Saint Helena Island Info Jobs on St HelenaThe Turner Family.


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