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
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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.

The UK's most dangerous jobs

Britain's most dangerous jobs
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Safest jobs in Britain revealed

By far the most dangerous job across most of the world is fishing. Apparently 103 in every 100,000 fishermen will die at sea - most of them by drowning, and according to Oxford University, those who work at sea are an incredible 50 times more likely to die at work than anyone else.

How well they are rewarded for risking their lives depends on where they fit in the pecking order. At the very top, with your own boat and crew, in a good year, you could bring home more than £100,000. At the bottom of the heap as a trainee deckhand you would be lucky to get more than £10,000 a year.

In the army, these experts have the nickname Felix - because they need every one of the nine lives. We all make mistakes at work and in this role mistakes will kill or maim you. 

In return for taking up such a dangerous role, you'll be paid £32,000 a year, which is made to look even more paltry by the fact that many of these experts end up drawing a disability pension before very long.

The risks of working with highly volatile and explosive materials in impossibly difficult natural environments is bad enough. Add in the risks of working in politically charged environments where you may well be a target for terrorists, and you can see why this is a dangerous job. In fact it has a fatality rate of around 32 per 100,000, and around 100 people a year die in the industry- around twice the average for all UK workers.

This risk, however, is reasonably rewarded - partly because of the fact it can be hard to attract workers to the places where oil and gas needs to be extracted. It's not uncommon for those with experience to be making £75,000 a year.

Put people up high, give them something heavy and awkward to carry, then get them to do it in the rain. It's not surprising this is a dangerous job. What is perhaps surprising is that over the past five years 30% of all work-related deaths in the UK have been in this industry. The riskiest construction jobs are those where heights are part of the every-day business of work - with scaffolders, steeplejacks ad roofers facing the most danger at work.

The pay starts around £20,000 for skilled workers, rising to around £50,000 for site managers.

Around 54,000 road accidents involving professional drivers take place on British roads every year - which is around 250 a day. Meanwhile, one in four of all road deaths involve a driver who is at work at the time. Despite stringent rules about how long they are allowed to drive for, and in-cab telematics to make sure they don't bend the rules, tiredness is the main cause. 

In return for the danger, plus the long hours and the anti-social lifestyle, these workers can expect to earn around £25,000 a year.

The risks are perhaps unsurprising, given that drowning accounts for the majority of fatalities. However there are also problems from high gas consumption and mental health problems, often due to having to spend inordinate times decompressing in a confined space with another individual.

However, given the risks, the inhospitable locations and the skills required, the role can earn you £100,000 a year or more.

These are often ex-military personnel employed to protect wealthy or powerful individuals. The role is unsurprisingly highly dangerous, with the constant threat of terrorist attacks, enemy fire or booby traps.

There really is danger money associated with this job, which is another role than can earn the right individual 6 figures a year.

Around 15 police officers lose their lives at work every year. However, surprisingly, the biggest risk is from involvement in a road accident, which causes 70% of the deaths. Around half of these are officers getting to and from work. Meanwhile no more than one or two are killed by criminals in an average year. Fatalities, however, are only a small proportion of the massive number of injuries a policeman can pick up - with roughly one police officer injured every hour.

In return they can expect to earn around £40,000, rising to £55,000 for senior officers.

Again there aren't a huge number of deaths in the line of duty. However, every fire is potentially fatal, and every job carries the risk of injury. Injures are very common, although burns account for only 5% of them, the rest tend to be due to things like training and carrying equipment.

The pay has been subject to a number of arguments and even strikes but is currently around £30,000.

Perhaps it's surprising that this doesn't come higher up the list. Since 2001 over 350 have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The front line is clearly just about the most dangerous environment possible, and has to be up there with the place that most people would least like to work.

In return for putting their lives on the line in the service of their county, army personnel can expect to be paid £14,000 when they start out - rising to up to £100,000 for the most senior officers.


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