The threat of bodily harm from heavy equipment, chemicals, or enemy attacks isn’t enough to make jobs such as logger, pest control worker, or enlisted military rank at the bottom of CareerCast’s Jobs Rated report. That distinction goes to newspaper reporter for the third year in a row.
It’s easy to see why as CareerCast’s jobs search portal breaks down key factors across 200 professions to determine which professions are the most and least desirable. Using data from the Census and the Department of Labor, the jobs are graded based on the following:
- Environment —measuring both emotional and physical factors such as competitiveness, personal hazard, and degree of public contact along with stamina, physical demands, and the degree of confinement. The average length of a work week is also factors in. According to CareerCast’s methodology, approximately equal weight is given to both emotional and physical scores which is why jobs with high stress often rank alongside those with adverse physical conditions.
- Income—a score that’s computed by adding the estimated mid-level income of the job and the percentage of its growth potential at the highest level of that job.
- Outlook—calculated from employment growth through 2024 based on forecasts from the Department of Labor, unemployment rates, as well as how much a worker can increase their earnings potential.
- Stress —scored for 11 factors including travel, deadlines, working in the public eye, putting one’s own or another’s life at risk, competition, and hazards encountered.
Each of the four core criteria are equally weighted in the final score.
"Declining employment opportunities contributed to the inclusion of many of the 10 worst careers in the 2016 Jobs Rated report," says Kyle Kensing, CareerCast’s online content editor. "Traditional news media is particularly hard hit due to newspapers folding or moving to digital-only, and waning advertising revenue."
Kensing says broadcasters’ employment outlook is also expected to decline, by 9%, or 4,800 total positions, by 2024 according to the Department of Labor. For those seeking to transition, the skills they've acquired in their current jobs can be transferred to podcasting, online news production, or data journalism.
Data is hot right now, thanks to the massive amounts of information both individuals and companies throw off on any given day. So it’s no surprise that CareerCast found that Data Scientist topped its list for the best jobs of 2016, just as it did on Glassdoor’s annual ranking. CareerCast’s list also included statistician, mathematician, and actuary, all of which require skilled computational thinking.
The problem is that there aren’t that many people who have those skills. A McKinsey report predicted that by 2018, "the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions."
Currently, most data scientists hold PhDs, but new education and recruiting opportunities are launching to address the future deficit.