You can cast off thoughts of caretaker jobs for remote tropical islands, banish ‘official biscuit tasting’ roles and wave away wacky ‘water slide tester’ positions. Because when it comes to the best job in the world, it seems nothing beats slipping on a pin-stripe suit, number crunching and balancing the books. It’s an accountant.

That’s according to new research from protection specialist LV=. The study, conducted among 5,000 British workers, began by establishing the 10 key features of a job that modern workers rate most highly. And in these lean times, having a ‘sexy’ job that’s exciting falls by the wayside in comparison to security, salary and benefits. Indeed just 4% of the working nation now sees excitement in a career as a must-have feature.

Top 10 most important features of a job in 2013

  1. Job security (74%)
  2. Good pay in line with responsibility (60%)
  3. Reasonable working hours (59%)
  4. Not too much stress and pressure (38%)
  5. Opportunity to progress (38%)
  6. A positive working environment (32%)
  7. A varied workload (29%)
  8. Workplace training opportunities (23%)
  9. A comprehensive benefits scheme (23%)
  10. Not being desk bound the whole day (21%)

With the top 10 features established, researchers from LV= proceeded to quiz workers on how their own jobs stack up against the ideal, asking them to rank each feature out of 10. The results were conclusive: from a pool of 60 professions, no job scores more highly across the board than the accountant.

According to the results of the research, accountancy scores higher on job security (7.57), training (6.92), salary in line with responsibility (6.53) and opportunities to progress (5.98) than any of the other 60 professions. Meanwhile stress levels for accountants were seen as moderate compared to other careers (4.97).

What’s more, in terms of pay that’s in line with responsibility, accountants are handsomely remunerated, with an average salary of £38,283 – a pay packet that’s 44 per cent higher than the UK average of £26,464.

The job security of accountancy illustrated in the research by LV= is also supported by official figures from the Office for National Statistics. Indeed, over the last 10 years employment levels among accountants have grown by a third, rising from 145,000 in 2003 to 180,000 in 2013. Additionally, the profession has grown steadily, with the only slight drop in employment levels occurring in 2012, making it a desirable career overall for those who rate job stability highly.

It’s not surprising so many workers consider job security such a high priority given that so few have any protection in place should they be unable to work. More than three quarters (76 per cent) of all working Britons – around 16.5 million people- do not have any form of income protection in place to safeguard their income and lifestyles if they were to fall ill or be unable to do their job.

Furthermore, over half (51 per cent) do not have any savings to use in the event that they are made redundant whilst a quarter (23%) said their savings would run dry after just two months and only one in ten said they have enough put by to support themselves for more than a year.

Mark Jones, Head of LV= Protection, said: “It’s clearly a reflection of the turbulent times we continue to live in that job security was voted by Britons as the single most important feature of a job. However, even those with the ‘best job in the world’, whose levels of job security outweigh other careers, should not be complacent. A job for life is a thing of the past, and no matter how stable your job may appear, at an individual level anything could happen.

And that’s not just redundancies. Whoever we are, wherever we work, we may suddenly find ourselves unable to work at any time through illness or injury. Without appropriate income protection in place, workers and their dependents may quickly find themselves in a position where they are unable to fund their lifestyles and meet their financial commitments.”

Other top jobs

Alongside the accountant, IT technicians can also stake a claim for having one of the ‘best jobs in the world’, with this profession scoring highly for its security, pay and diversity of work. Rounding out the top five were an engineer, charity worker and, despite recent pay disputes and strikes, teaching is still seen to be one of the best jobs in the world..

The five ‘best’ jobs in the world (aggregate score out of 10)

  1. Accountant (6.00)
  2. Teacher (5.9)
  3. Engineer (5.75)
  4. Charity worker (5.75)
  5. IT technician (5.61)