Librarian: second most desirable job in Britain?

Given that I am currently leading a research project to map the UK workforce in library, archives, records, information and knowledge management sectors, I was interested to come across some results of a recent YouGov survey yesterday. These claim that the job of librarian is the ‘second most desirable’ in Britain. Is this really the case, and (if so) why?

My immediate reaction to this finding was that the general public lacks a full understanding of the type of work that librarians undertake. Do they hanker after a quiet, stress-free environment where they can read all day (if only!) in the same way that they envy academics (3rd in the poll) who barely lift a finger from May to September?

I notice that Strathclyde University doctoral research student (and qualified librarian) Erin Ferguson was thinking along the same lines as me in the week that the results of the poll were published: see her recent blog post at Erin also took a careful look at the data set on which the findings were based, and the methods deployed for the study. Her analysis throws some interesting light on the headline findings. Val Skelton has also provided some additional commentary on the findings and related them to the results of some other studies on the InformationToday Europe web site. My team at Napier hopes to learn more about the workforce in libraries and related sectors when we analyse the data collected from the Workforce Mapping Project survey later in the spring/early summer. If you work in the UK’s libraries, archives, records, information and knowledge sectors, and have not done so already, please do fill in the short survey at You can also enter the prize draw to win £200 of vouchers of your choice.

On a more personal note, as an academic (number 3) who conducts research with the library (and related) communities (number 2) and regularly publishes her work (author is number 1) I have some form of explanation as to why I love my job so much.

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