The Desk

March 4, 2011

Most Popular Jobs

Payscale published a new article on popular jobs and promote it in their current newsletter. The article’s title is “10 Most Popular Jobs and What They Pay.” There are some interesting things to note about these ten job titles. Let’s take a look at them and then I’ll leave you to explore the content of the article.

The first thing that stands out is the order of the jobs. They’re ranked by degree of satisfaction for those who are in the occupations. The first six are all in the “helping” field. Let’s call them humanitarian occupations. One has a bit of overlap into environmental issues. They are

  • Operating Room Nurse
  • Physical Therapist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Dietitian
  • Elementary School Teacher

The first three jobs rank in the 80th percentiles as far as level of satisfaction. My observation in regard to satisfaction is that the jobs offer a lot in the way of feeling as though your work has a lot of relevance. The other thing is all of those jobs merit pay of $61,000 or more per year.

The next three jobs drop to the 78% to 79% in terms of job satisfaction. Likewise, the level of pay also drops, hovering between $49,000 to $39,000. In other words, these people are pulling salaries of between $3,205 to $4,083 per month. It doesn’t appear that the money is what’s making them unhappy but something about the actual work. This, in light of the amount of dollars paid, means there’s some serious research and soul searching that needs to go into considering the work. It would be wise to do some informational interviewing, not for the sake of getting leads as much as learning the inside scoop about daily demands, ability to reach personal goals and desires, amount of bureaucracy involved in delivering on the services, additional training involved in actually reaching a desired plateau, amount of effort required to find a place to work.

The next four jobs are more in the way of technical occupations. They deal more with numbers and data than with people and concepts. They remuneration they draw is essentially all over the map. While the one at the lowest end of the spectrum commands $58,000, the one at the top draws $70,000. However, the satisfaction ratings range from 71% to 76% for

  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Computer Networking/IT Systems Engineer
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Technical Writer

These are definitely not callings for people with a heavy creative factor. Still, there is room in all of these occupations for people with diverse interests and talents, depending on how the callings are cast and the setting. You just need to open your mind to the related industries, and how your particular talents can be used to help you blossom in that particular setting.

Additionally, these are generalized job titles. There are related and even lateral situations that call upon similar if not the same skills but are either stepping stones to the ultimate goal (and learning plateaus) or are related careers in and of themselves. You have to research the options and what’s available as you either embark on your search or else fine tune it.

The interesting thing about these statistics is that PayScale doesn’t tell us how or where they derived these numbers. It isn’t clear whether these are data representative of the East Coast, Midwest, or where. Ohio wages are definitely going to be different from New York and California. Likewise, Detroit and Macon will also have a particular slant. The other unfortunate thing about PayScale is they don’t respond to questions either by phone or by email. So we’re left to take in the information and just puzzle things through for ourselves.

Where should you look to learn about related careers and jobs? Try the Occupational Outlook Handbook or the Career Guide to Industries that are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related Articles:

Median Salary by Company Size – Country: United States (United States)Median Salary by Company Size

Compare your salary: Get a free Salary Report


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