Long reads

The world's most amazing vacancies (that actually exist)

24 Jan 2019 By Eleanor Whitehouse

From feline fraterniser to Lego-brick buff, People Management reveals some of the world's most exciting job opportunities – that aren't just the stuff of dreams

The best jobs in the world are unfortunately the rarest (how often do you see adverts for 
ice cream tasters crop up?) So when it comes to a role that’s at the top of thousands of people’s wish lists, how do recruiters go about selecting the right candidate? And when a job receives more traction than expected, how do they cope with the deluge? People Management brings you a selection of dream roles that are more than just a fantasy.

Water slide tester

  • Several exotic locations
  • £20,000 per year

In 2013, holiday operator First Choice received more than 2,000 applications for a six-month contract as a slide tester, travelling around its 20 water parks across sunny climes, including Majorca and Egypt, to rate the slides and pools on offer. On top of a £20,000 annual salary and travel expenses, the successful candidate also bagged a week-long hotel stay at the end of the role.

As well as being fun-loving, the job advert stated that the right applicant would be “happy to get wet at work” and “comfortable in swimwear”. Luke Gaskins, First Choice’s head of holiday innovation, told the Mirror the chosen candidate would “get to escape the 9 to 5 and spend their days rating slides in the sun”. The role was awarded to 22-year-old Leeds University student Sebastian Smith, who described it as his “dream job”.

Island lighthouse keeper

  • San Francisco Bay, USA
  • $130,000 per year (shared between two people)

A salary of $130,000 and your own island is probably most people’s idea of heaven, but life as East Brother Light Station’s keepers is far from relaxing.

As the one-acre island’s sole occupants, the job description is comprehensive. The station serves as a bed and breakfast for up to 10 guests, requiring the post-holders to cook gourmet meals, do the laundry, organise supply runs and ferry guests to and from the mainland by boat (requiring a boat licence). 

The application form states the successful candidates should have “culinary experience”, as well as being “presentable to the public”. At time of going to press, applications are still open, with new keepers expected to take over in April. Tom Butt, president of the not-for-profit organisation that operates the island, told the San Francisco Chronicle he expected to receive a dozen qualified applicants. “We get a lot more unqualified ones,” he added.

Netflix originals creative analyst

  • Los Angeles, USA (location flexible)

Being paid to binge-watch programmes on Netflix might sound too good to be true, but the streaming service employs a select group of around 40 originals creative analysts – also known as ‘taggers’. They are responsible for watching films and TV series and adding the comprehensive metadata that informs the search and suggested titles algorithms – everything from basic information like year and director to choosing from thousands of nuanced categories, such 
as “Latin American forbidden love movies”.

Don’t hand in your notice just yet, though – taggers are only employed on a part-time basis for up to 20 hours per week, and as you would expect, competition is fierce, with adverts usually being taken down very soon after they appear.

Nutella taster

  • Alba, Italy
  • “Competitive” salary

Imagine being paid to eat everyone’s favourite chocolate and hazelnut spread (probably). That’s exactly what Nutella manufacturer Ferrero offered back in August. The downside? They would be providing feedback on the raw ingredients, rather than the finished product.

Successful applicants had to take part in a training programme to learn how to assess components like cocoa and hazelnut grains, with 40 candidates going on to be offered contracts.

Ferrero said no experience was required, but it did ask that applicants speak fluent Italian and relocate to a small town in northern Italy.

Cat sanctuary manager

  • Syros, Greece
  • £536 per month, plus paid-for accommodation

When Joan Bowell, owner of God’s Little People Cat Rescue on the Greek island of Syros, posted an advert on Facebook for someone to take over the sanctuary and asked her followers to spread it “far and wide”, she didn’t expect it to be shared over 34,000 times.

Looking for a “mature and genuinely passionate cat lover” to run the sanctuary following Bowell and her husband’s impending relocation, the advert outlined a package attractive to any cat lover, with 55 felines to be looked after, equating to around four hours of work per day and including free accommodation overlooking the Aegean Sea.

However, Bowell discovered the difficulties of recruiting when a job goes viral, describing the 25,000-plus messages she received as a “virtual tsunami”.

Lego master builder

  • Locations worldwide

With only 22 positions in the world, the title of Lego master builder is highly coveted, but for hardcore brick fiends, the rewards are plenty. Based full-time at Legoland Discovery Centres – the UK has two, in Manchester and Birmingham – master builders’ duties include constructing attraction structures, curating exhibitions and helping children create their own models in creative workshops.

Managers at the Birmingham centre received more than 7,000 applications for the position when it opened in 2018, with the final 50 being whittled down in an X-Factor-style competition. The role was awarded to former HR assistant Michelle Thompson, who told Birmingham Live she had been playing with Lego “for as long as I can remember”.

Deputy Director, Group HR Reward, Policy and Arm’s-length Bodies

Deputy Director, Group HR Reward, Policy and Arm’s-length Bodies

Central London

£70,000 - £117,800

Department for Transport (DfT)

Director of People

Director of People

Stratford and New Town, London (Greater)

Circa £80,000 per annum

UNICEF

Head of People & Team Building (Permanent)

Head of People & Team Building (Permanent)

London (Central), London (Greater)

£55,000 per annum plus excellent benefits

Coin Street Community Builders

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