Are YOU in the North West’s most boring profession?

16th February 2017

Photo: Smedley Hydro offices in Birkdale

Are YOU in the North West’s most boring profession?

  • 47% of North Westerners surveyed name accountant as most boring job, ahead of human resource manager and business consultant (both 8.5%)
  • Engineer, teacher and nurse rated most interesting – but men and women have different views on what makes an interesting job
  • Teachers perceived to have best work/life balance by 25% of North Westerners surveyed

A significant proportion of the UK workforce will be looking for a new job this year, with a 2017 survey from Investors in People revealing that a quarter of workers have already begun applying. But new research commissioned byKaplan, the UK’s largest accountancy and tax training provider, shows that due to largely misleading stereotypes, many North West job-seekers could end up overlooking their perfect role.

In the study of 2,000 UK adults, respondents were asked a series of questions to highlight false perceptions within professions that offer the best opportunities for employment[2]:

  • Accountant
  • Builder
  • Business consultant
  • Chef
  • Developer
  • Engineer
  • Human resource manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Nurse
  • Teacher

The research highlighted that 47% of North Westerners surveyed chose accountancy as the most boring profession – five-and-a-half times more than human resource manager and business consultant, both of which received the second highest share of votes (8.5%).

Corinne Mills, Managing Director of Personal Career Management and author of Career Coach: Your Personal Workbook for a Better Career, stresses the importance of not relying on stereotypes when considering a new job: “It’s always useful to talk to people who work in the type of roles you may be exploring to find out what the day-to-day reality is like.

“You’re likely to find that although there will be elements in common, there will be a huge variation depending on the organisation, sector and even the type of boss you have. For instance, working as an accountant in a bank will be very different from working in a tech start-up, for a consultancy or a media agency. Job satisfaction is about finding a role that plays to your skills and then finding an organisation that fits your personality.”

In reality, many job-hunters are failing to do this. Kaplan’s survey revealed that when it comes to certain professions, longstanding stereotypes are still prevalent. For example, professions that have traditionally been dominated by one gender – such as nursing and engineering – continue to divide opinion along gender lines.

Across all respondents, nurse (18%), teacher (16.5%) and engineer (16%) were rated as the top three most interesting jobs. However, there were significant differences between the sexes. A quarter of men (23.5%) named engineer as the most interesting job, compared to fewer than one in ten women (9%). Likewise, one in four women (23.5%) cited nurse as the most interesting job, compared to just one in eight men (12%).

Furthermore, teaching – a profession associated with lengthy holidays – was named as the job with the best work/life balance, receiving 25% of votes from North West respondents (followed by builder with 13% and accountant with 8.5%). In reality, while teachers receive 13+ weeks of holiday per year, government figures show that secondary school classroom teachers in England work an average of 55.7 hours per week, while those in primary schools work 59.3 hours per week[3]. In contrast, the latest OECD statistics suggest that the average UK worker actually works for 36.6 hours per week.

Zoe Robinson, Kaplan’s Director of Programmes, says: “In the same way that nursing and engineering can be rich and rewarding professions, accountancy isn’t just about filing tax returns. You could travel the world as an auditor, grow a business as a management accountant or even work for yourself as a bookkeeper.

“What’s also clear is that the majority of people prioritise pay and work/life balance over the level of ‘interest’ they place in a job. Previously, our student surveys have told us that the most common reasons for undertaking a career change into accountancy are career progression, financial benefit and personal development. These are the truly important factors that people should consider when planning the next step in their career.”


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