Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the lighthouse keepers at Cordouan were employed by the company that had been awarded the contract for maintaining the lighthouse. In 1826, they were given a status similar to that of royal road-menders, the first step towards the achieving civil servant status for these positions. This was put into effect in 1853 along all of France’s coasts. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were approximately 600 state-employed lighthouse keepers. Lighthouse keeper were henceforth government employees, with a grade, position and a hierarchy within the Ponts et Chaussées, which oversaw and sometimes sanctioned their work. Recruitment was done locally. Cordouan’s first state lighthouse keepers were from Royan and the surrounding areas. They were former seamen and members of the military. The primary quality that the administration looked for was obedience and a respect for the rules and instructions issued by the Lighthouse Service. The lighthouse keeper was also responsible for the upkeep of the beacon. With the arrival of a gas-powered light, and subsequently electricity, there was an increased need for skills. After the Second World War, the administration set up training programmes for the lighthouses' "electromechanical engineers." Offshore lighthouses also required a taste for isolation, even if there were three employees present on site, including a "head lighthouse guardian", and two employees after the gas-powered lights were introduced in the early twentieth century.