Safest jobs in Britain revealed

Patient receiving injectionWith unemployment heading skyhigh and a record number of young people out of work what are the safest jobs in Britain? Accountants and doctors, you may think? But not necessarily. Earlier this year, for the first time ever, 184 qualifying doctors in the UK had no job to go to. And with NHS cuts, it could get worse.


The doctors' trade union the BMA does point out that it expects all 184 to get places as some offered posts fail their exams or drop out, but there could be bigger numbers with no places this year. And although no doctors have been made redundant yet, the NHS cuts means vacancies are going unfilled.

Management accountancy body CIMA reckons its members are among the safest, which is why it has seen student number growing. "It has probably never been a better time to be a management accountant. Businesses need help to watch the bottom line and monitor the cashflow. To do that well, they need people who are properly trained," a CIMA spokeswoman said.

Safest Jobs in Britain Revealed

Safest Jobs in Britain Revealed

Other stereotypes of certain jobs remain true. Don't put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington – with Arts Council funding cut and local authorities savaging their arts budgets, the number of "resting" actors is on the rise. Drama school is a no-no.

Haemorrhoid cream makers

Some jobs will always be needed, regardless of the economic circumstances. If you have a job making haemorrhoid cream, you're sorted. People will always have piles. Half the UK population will get them at least once in their life. And if internet rumours are to be believed, some people use the cream to remove bags under their eyes.

Recruitment firm Hays reckons it knows the top 10 safest job markets.
  1. IT
  2. Pharmaceuticals
  3. Senior finance
  4. Accountancy
  5. Banking
  6. Insurance
  7. HR
  8. Legal
  9. Social housing
  10. Education


Top place goes to the computer geeks specialising in Java, .Net and business intelligence technologies. They can earn £40,000 a year or £300 per day on contract. The entry exam for IT is getting the joke: There are only 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

Working for a drug company is safe, Hays says because drugs take so long to develop and test. Many firms are launching new products, boosting demand for medical liaison personnel who can also "forge stronger links" with key opinion leaders (for that read "bribe"). Salaries can be £40,000-£50,000

If you are a chief finance officer or a finance director, you're on the money too. "Many organisations are also looking for career accountants who are studying for professional accounting qualifications, credit control professionals and people specialising in payroll," Hays says. Top beancounters earn £120,000.

But, as CIMA claimed, demand is there at the entry level too. Hays says this is because too few studied accountancy in recent years. Now there is money to be made by those with two to three year's postgraduate practical experience who are studying towards a professional qualification. It's worth £30,000.


The banks are looking for "revenue generators who are client-facing, with a strong banking background and appropriate levels of managing risk and control," Hayes says. Oh, and compliance jobs. Beginners can get £25,000 and upwards. Experience may be worth £65,000.

And you may have overlooked being an actuary – the people accountants think are boring – but don't. There is a high demand for actuaries with Solvency II (European rules) experience, underwriters and brokers across the UK. Basic claims staff can earn £35,000, with others much more.

Personnel – as it used to be called (now human resources) – is a good place to be. After all, somebody has to do all the recruiting, sacking and sorting redundancies. Those with TUPE, restructuring and change skills can earn £30,000-£60,000, says Hays.


And there is always work for lawyers. Even if nobody likes you - what will you care? Hays says a mid-level lawyer with three years' experience will earn £55,000 outside London and £75,000 in the capital.

Or there is social housing. This is no longer about providing homes to the needy but about giving tenants the services they want, or as Hays puts it "improving both the customer journey and experience". The job security makes up for the £29,000 manager salary.

And if you can put up with kids and their parents then what about education? "Schools already struggle to attract and identify quality headteachers, they are also challenged in terms of being able to dedicate enough time in developing their leadership teams," says Hays.

"There is a real demand for headteachers who can demonstrate the ability to manage teams effectively, show strong financial awareness and innovation." Primary school heads can get £60,000, secondary heads £95,000 and turn your school into an academy and you can trouser £100,000 or more.

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