Revealed: Britain's most desirable careers

Emma Woollacott
A vaintage typewriter with several wadded up pieces of paper arranged around it.  symbol of writer's block or difficulty with cr
A vaintage typewriter with several wadded up pieces of paper arranged around it. symbol of writer's block or difficulty with cr

What's your dream job? Do you yearn to be a television presenter, a racing driver or a movie star - or would you prefer something a little quieter?

The popularity of programmes such as X Factor and Britain's Got Talent might imply that we Brits are all dead set on fame and fortune.

But a new YouGov survey has revealed that the majority of us say we would far rather spend our lives surrounded by books.

The researchers gave a list of jobs to more than 14,000 adults and asked them whether or not they'd like to do each one for a living.

And, it turns out, the most desirable career is author, which six out of ten people say they'd enjoy.

Next comes the job of being a librarian, which 54% reckon they'd like; and third is the role of academic, fancied by 51%.

The research clearly shows that fame is far from the deciding factor. Only 31% of people say they'd like to be a Hollywood movie star, making it the joint 14th most popular job, and only 19% want to be a model.

Nor is money particularly important: while investment banking, for example, does feature on the list, only 26% of people say they'd like to be one. This make it only the joint 20th most popular job - behind chef, farmer and police officer.

"Instead of actors and musicians, it seems that an aura of prestige still surrounds the quiet, intellectual life enjoyed by authors, librarians and academics," the report's authors write.

Of course, it may be that when people express the wish to be an author that they've got the likes of JK Rowling in mind, whose books have made her worth over $1 billion, according to Forbes.

Most writers, though, don't do quite so well financially. A survey last summer commissioned by the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society found that the median income of professional authors in Britain was just £11,000 in 2013 - a drop of 29% since 2005.

That's well below the figure of £16,850 that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says is needed to achieve a minimum standard of living.

Librarians make a little more, with the Office for National Statistics putting their yearly average salary at £24,927 - close to the overall national average. But it's not the most secure job in the world, with over 10% of British libraries currently under threat because of government cuts.

As for academics, they make an average of £45,240 a year, according to the Office for National Statistics - not to be sniffed at, certainly, but hardly riches beyond one's wildest dreams.

When it comes to the least-favourite jobs on the list, there are few surprises: there aren't many people who hanker after becoming a miner, a call centre worker or a traffic warden. Perhaps surprisingly, though, being a soldier is no more desirable than being a cleaner.

The figures show few gender differences when it comes to our favourite jobs: the top three preferences are shared by both men and women, and law, journalism, medicine and TV feature in both top tens.

However, a little down the scale, there are some striking differences: men are far more likely to want to be train drivers, Formula 1 drivers, astronauts and MPs, while women are far more likely to want to be interior designers and librarians.

There are also some significant differences by social grade, with academia, journalism, teaching and law being more than 8% more desirable to ABC1s - professional, middle-class workers - than they are to C2DEs (manual, working- class workers).

Of course, there are plenty of interesting jobs that weren't on the list of choices: as the authors say, put too many options down and respondents would lose the will to live. So if you hanker after being a nurse, an IT worker or an artist, you won't find yourself represented here.

But I can't be the only person to find the results rather reassuring. In a world where so many seem to be chasing money at all costs, it's rather nice to discover that most of us would rather curl up with (or even write) a good book.

The most popular jobs in Britain:
Author 60%
Librarian 54%
Academic 51%
Lawyer 43%
Interior designer 41%
Journalist 39%
Doctor 39%
TV presenter 36%
Train driver 35%
Teacher 35%
Accountant 34%
Olympic athlete 31%
Member of Parliament 31%
Hollywood movie star 31%
Formula One driver 29%
Chef 29%
Farmer 29%
Police officer 29%
Astronaut 27%
Firefighter 26%
Investment banker 26%
Flight attendant 25%
Estate agent 23%
Model 19%
Refuse collector 16%
Taxi driver 13%
Cleaner 13%
Soldier 13%
Traffic warden 10%
Call centre worker 7%
Miner 5%

Read more on AOL Money:
Over half of Brits unhappy with their salary

Ten steps to starting your own business

The best-paid jobs you can do from home

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