Best Jobs for 2010
The folks at CareerCast have rated 200 jobs using an index:
Data on each job is broken down into five key categories: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Stress and Hiring Outlook. Jobs receive a score in each individual category, and when these are added together, the career with the best overall score is ranked 1st, while the one with the worst overall score is ranked 200th.
Professors Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson famously conducted a similar analysis in 1978*, placing Cowboy at the bottom of the list with Doctor, Lawyer, and Such as the three most desirable occupations.
Much has changed, it would seem, in the ensuing 32 years. The top 20 jobs according to this index:
- Software Engineer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Paralegal Assistant
- Dental Hygienist
- Technical Writer
- Bank Officer
- Web Developer
- Industrial Engineer
- Financial Planner
- Aerospace Engineer
- Medical Records Technician
The worst jobs?
- Dairy Farmer
- Garbage Collector
- Taxi Driver
- Construction Worker
- Meter Reader
- Mail Carrier
Cowboy doesn’t seem to have made the list of 200 careers, whilst Doctor has been broken up into several subspecialties (Podiatrist, Dentist, Veterinarian, etc.). Lawyer made the list as Attorney at #80.
Of course, I can’t imagine that I’d enjoy being an actuary. The list-makers have that covered, though:
Of course every employee is different, and what you consider a “dream job” might be someone else’s idea of a career nightmare. Because of this, a simple ranking may not be enough — you need to know what a particular job is really like on a day-to-day basis. This is where the survey’s individual scores and rankings can help. If you’re the type who cares a lot about income but doesn’t mind stress, for example, public relations executive might be a great career for you. While the job may seem less desirable with an overall ranking of 79, it ranks 19th for median income and 193rd for stress — perfect for the job seeker who wants good pay and can handle a high-stress environment.
I’m shocked to see Historian so high on the list, given the academic job market. But they rate the hiring outlook at 22.26, putting it in the Very Good category.
UPDATE: Dave Schuler explains the rather dubious “Hiring Prospects” rankings:
It only includes percentage growth in the field, income potential, and number unemployed. Availability of jobs isn’t factored in at all. That tends to give a leg up to jobs with very small numbers of employed (so any increase is likely to be a sizeable percentage), decent top incomes, and few unemployed. That means that an extremely selective field (like actuary) will score disproportionately well, particularly if the number of jobs has increased in the field as it has over the last ten years or so.
That’s just absurdly shoddy.
*I’m informed that Ed Bruce actually published an early version of the study in 1975 in a more obscure journal. The findings were popularized by Jennings and Nelson.