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Is Your Job Sexy, and Does It Matter?

Published: Friday 12th June 2015

A clown holding a video frame

Ever wondered if your job was considered sexy by others? Well, you need wonder no more, thanks to research commissioned by the Federation of Master Builders.

The research, which took the form of a survey of 2000 UK adults by Opinion Matters, delivered a few surprises. One might have expected that ‘footballer’ or ‘CEO’ or ‘TV presenter’ would have topped the list of sexy occupations, but none of them did. Instead, the survey respondents considered that a job in the armed services was the sexiest occupation, followed by ‘pilot’, ‘nurse’ and ‘flight attendant’.  

‘Sports professional’ came in seventh on the list, ‘radio/TV presenter’ was two places lower and ‘CEO’ occupied only fifteenth spot. 

The traditional professions fared poorly in the survey, with the exception of ‘doctor’, which came sixth in the list. Accountancy and finance jobs scraped into the top 20, but there was no place for lawyers in spite of the enduring popularity of legal dramas on TV. Other curious omissions from the list included ‘chef’, ‘actor/actress’ and ‘engineer’.

The image of journalism has taken a bit of a battering in recent times, so it’s perhaps no surprise to find that ‘journalist’ came in at number 20 on the list. Teachers, though, maybe a little surprised to find that their job was rated the 13th most sexy. 

But does it really matter if your job is sexy? Of course not. The fact that a job is perceived as sexy doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily more valuable than a job that has a less alluring image. Consider this: more than 5,000 people work on an American aircraft carrier. A small number of them will have the ostensibly sexy task of flying fighter aircraft. But while it may appear sexy, it’s a very demanding, dangerous and stressful job that exacts a significant physical and mental toll on those who perform it. 

As for the rest of the carrier’s crew, they’ll mostly engaged in functions designed to support the carrier’s main purpose as a floating airport. Many of these support functions will be less than glamorous, such as cooking, carrying out maintenance work and doing the laundry for the ship’s complement. However, each and every task performed on the ship is an important one which has a direct bearing on the ship’s efficiency and, in some cases, the safety of its crew. Not sexy, but just as important a role as that of a fighter pilot. 

Something that looks sexy when viewed from a distance may appear to be rather less so when observed at close quarters. A career as a professional sportsman may seem sexy and may well be financially rewarding for those who excel in their chosen discipline, but for the most part it involves following very strict fitness and dietary regimes, being away from home for extended periods, living in a succession of hotel rooms and a loss of privacy and personal freedom. Seen from that perspective, it seems rather less sexy, doesn’t it?

For some, of course, a job’s sexiness is measured in the financial reward it brings. But let’s pause for a moment and think about what you might have to do in order to reap that financial reward – work long hours and  have less time to spend with friends and family. In other words, it’s all about chasing the dollar instead of taking time to smell the flowers. That works for some people, but for many of us such a life seems to be missing something important: balance.  

Having the right work-life balance is the key to many things: health, happiness and, yes, productivity.  Without that balance, fatigue, grumpiness and impatience will all creep up on a person. And sooner or later their work will suffer, causing them to be even less content. And so a vicious cycle will begin. 

When you’re looking for a job, don’t waste your time thinking about how others may perceive it. You don’t perform a job virtually, so focus on reality and forget about image. Concentrate instead on finding a job that you enjoy, that gives you a sense of pride and fulfilment and allows you to have the work-life balance that’s right for you. Because it doesn’t get any sexier than that. 

If you are looking for a job, why not download the Zoek app to let your new job find you? The app for faster, smarter recruitment can be downloaded on iOS or Android.

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