How is the popularity of a particular career measured and by what criteria?
‘Most popular’ is, of course, something that is hard to measure. The job that the largest number of people apply for may not be the most popular – it may be the most attainable to a large number of people, or it may be the sole job of its kind in an area of high unemployment. A largely unskilled position may receive a lot more applications than a position that requires extensive qualifications and experience, because more people are qualified for it. That does not make it more ‘popular’.
Even if we were to successfully identify the ‘most popular job’, there would be huge variation within the employment marketplace. Two jobs may have near identical job titles and descriptions but, by virtue of the employer, industry or location, might present the employee with highly contrasting experiences. One position would be desirable, the other not so.
So, in compiling the following list from existing surveys, we have taken several factors into account:
- The number of applications made via jobs’ websites,
- Number of educational diplomas and degrees directed towards particular careers,
- The growth in the number of jobs due to industry developments and, therefore, the applicants angling their career goals towards them,
- General levels of job satisfaction expressed by holders of such positions.
While recognising that for some people, these may represent central career goals, we have not set out to create a list of ‘dream jobs’. Such a list would contain few surprises, being full of jobs such as Rock Singer, Actress and Model, with a few TV-inspired roles, such as Forensic Scientist. More accurately, our list represents several of the most sought after jobs, which are also readily available in the employment marketplace.
The following list is presented in no particular order. For each position listed, we provide a very brief overview. This is in no sense intended to be comprehensive, as the jobs that come under these titles vary enormously according to employer, sector and industry.
This position is also known as Software Engineer, Application Programmer and Computer Programmer amongst other job titles. A software developer writes codes for applications, either stand-alone or client. They write, adapt and clean up software for client applications, as well as test and document software for client applications.
Data Communications Analyst
Also known as a Network Systems Analyst, this position is essential in the information technology field. A business requires an analyst to maintain and troubleshoot its data system. The analyst may analyse, design, test and evaluate the local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet and other data communication systems. They may perform network modelling and planning, researching and recommending hardware and software to increase efficiency.
Civil engineers ensure the completion of engineering projects, with strict adherence to construction regulations, resources, timescale and budget. Consulting engineers work with clients in the development and planning of constructions, from roads to bridges, structures in the environment and public settings, etc. The consulting engineer undertakes feasibility studies and site investigations, develops designs, undertakes risk assessment and management, submits proposals, applications for permits, etc. A Contract Engineer is responsible for actually putting the plans into action.
This officer is responsible for managing the smooth flow of information within organisations. The data is usually electronic, sourced from within or outside the organisation, and disseminated internally and externally. It may be stored or transmitted via online databases and internet-based systems. They will organise information for easy retrieval, answer specific queries, publicise the service available, produce reports and train staff in the systems’ use, amongst other duties.
This role varies enormously depending on the employers’ core activities. To summarise, however, the marketing officer (or manager) ascertains the level of demand for products or services, as provided both by the employer and any competitors. The identification and analysis of a customer base supports the development of a pricing strategy, with the aim of maximising the employer’s market share. Customer relationship management, to maximise customer satisfaction, is also crucial.
This position exists in many industries and is frequently a short to mid-term contract, lasting through a project’s development and duration through to completion. It combines responsibility for producing and reviewing work plans, identifying physical and human resources, managing day to day operations, assuring work quality and producing documentation. Financial management is also a major function.
Advertising or Account Executive
An Account Executive liaises between an advertising or marketing agency and a number of its clients, looking after the day to day management of their client’s campaigns. Within the agency, the executive coordinates the input from different departments to ensure smooth development of the campaign. They are responsible for administrating the purchase of different services and products, ensuring timely completion within budget.
Administrator or Office Manager
Duties vary in scope and scale according to the nature of the employer, but will be centred on the organisation and supervision of administrative tasks and activities. The goal is always to ensure the smooth operation of an office, department or organisation. Production of presentable documentation is one task, along with organising and servicing meetings. Liaising with management staff, maintaining records and producing requested information, ordering inventory items, controlling administrative budgets and supervising office staff may all be in the job description.
Customer Services Officer or Manager
Ensuring the satisfaction of customers is, unsurprisingly, key to this role. A customer services representative may experience a different level of responsibility according to the size of the employer, but will usually have direct contact with the customer base. They will develop or implement a policy for customer service and care, possibly managing a team of customer-facing staff (which may involve communicating with customers by email, letter or telephone). They are usually required to respond to assist with queries and handle complaints.
Medical administrators keep the offices of clinics or hospitals running smoothly. They need a special knowledge of medical terminology and procedures, and familiarity with funding systems, billing protocol, hospital or laboratory systems and procedures, etc. At times they will assist doctors and medical scientists with medical records and reports, patient histories, order of supplies. They will often be involved in communication with patients over admission to hospitals, test results, etc.