Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Nation of bookworms; authors, librarian and academic are the UK's three most desirable jobs


In today's world of selfies and self-applauding status updates, it would be easy to assume that we're all after jobs that bring us money and fame.

But a new YouGov study has revealed a surprisingly scholastic angle to the nation's career ambitions.

The survey of just over 14,000 people aged 18 upwards revealed Britain's top most desirable vocations to be author, librarian and academic.

Proving we really are a community of book-lovers, 60% of us want to be a writer, in the vein of JK Rowling and EL James. 


A librarian; one of the UK's most desirable jobs

A further 54% want to be librarians, and 51% of us wish we were an academic; both bookish professions that are not known for either their glamour or a hefty paycheck. 

More conventional jobs, including lawyer, doctor and journalist, come next on the list, while perhaps unsurprisingly, traffic warden and call centre worker end up bottom of the pile.

But seemingly exciting career options - such as movie star and model - languish around the midway point, with more people wanting to be an accountant, a train driver or a teacher.

Britain's most desirable jobs: 


YouGov quizzed 14,294 people at the beginning of this year for the study. Participants were shown a random list of career choices and asked to rank what they would like and not like to do for a living.

The survey picked up something of a gender variation in job appeal, with women tending towards jobs in interior design, libraries and academia, and men drawn to the concept of being an astronaut and a Formula 1 driver: 

The UK's most desirable jobs - gender variation: 


The National Careers Service puts a librarian's average annual wage at £19,500 per year and  says the job would be perfect "if you are organised, like working with people, and are enthusiastic about the value of information and knowledge".

The same organisation lists the average wage and hours of a writer as "variable" and advises that "you’ll need to come up with ideas that appeal to your audience and sell well. You will also need to work well on your own and have the resilience to deal with critics, publishers and employers who will have opinions on your work".

Meanwhile, changes in funding for university research means that full-time, permanent positions in academia are increasingly hard to come by

All three jobs suit people who are able to work well on their own and have an aptitude for processing lots of diverse information in a short period of time. 

JK Rowling, one of the UK's most successful and prolific writers, says that aspiring authors should prepare themselves for the fact that a good story takes time to formulate.

"You have to resign yourself to the fact that you waste a lot of trees before you write anything you really like, and that’s just the way it is," she says. "It’s like learning an instrument, you’ve got to be prepared for hitting wrong notes occasionally, or quite a lot, cause I wrote an awful lot before I wrote anything I was really happy with."

See more writing tips here

What do you think? Do these survey results ring true for you? And if not, what kind of job appeals most to you, and why? Let us know in the comments section below

Photos: Rex Features



The 10 most common causes of relationship strain revealed


The most endearing and charming letters from famous authors to fans


The 20 most erotic moments in the history of cinema


Freya North's writing tips

Claudia Hero.jpg

How quitting changed our lives for the better


Women's top regrets include having an affair and not trying at school



Our kind of cauldron: darkly delicious Halloween cocktail recipes

Jacked-up Negronis and chilli-laced concoctions

by Amy Swales
25 Oct 2016

“Why we need to remove the term Essex Girl from the dictionary”

It's time to reclaim the term once and for all

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 Oct 2016

Revealed: the 20 most fashionable baby names in France

These melodic French baby names are très bien

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

Small fibs could turn you into a full-blown liar, study finds

“What a tangled web we weave...”

by Anna Pollitt
25 Oct 2016

Bake Off’s Mary Berry confirmed for brand-new cooking show

And it’s hitting our screens in time for a very Berry Christmas…

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Oct 2016

This 'Very British Problems' Twitter account is all of us

"Best weekend activity: a really nice sitdown"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Oct 2016

13 Going on 30 is the latest film to get a musical makeover

by Amy Swales
24 Oct 2016

This streaming service is so boring it will send you to sleep

Forget Netflix and chill

by Harriet Hall
24 Oct 2016

Poldark slammed by women’s rights campaigners as “romanticising rape”

“It’s worse than if it had been a straightforward rape scene”

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Oct 2016

The selfie vs. the group photo: which actually makes us happier?

Time for an Instagram break?

by Moya Crockett
24 Oct 2016