The best and worst jobs to have in 2012

The best and worst jobs to have in 2012

Elizabeth Bromstein|

CareerCast.com has released its new list of the 200 best to worst jobs for 2012, just like it did last year for 2011.

Wondering if your job got better or worse over the last 12 months? Let’s find out!

Software Engineers, you’ve still got the best job. Yay for you! This is followed by Actuary, Human Resources Manager and Dental Hygienist, with Financial Planner rounding out the top five. The rest of the top ten are Audiologist, Occupational Therapist, Online Advertising Manager, Computer Systems Analyst and Mathematician.

Sorry Statisticians, Meteorologists, Biologists and Historians, you’re no longer in the top ten. I guess your jobs suck more than they did this time last year.

But guess what Roustabouts! You no longer have the worst job ever!

That honour now goes to Lumberjack, followed by Dairy Farmer and Enlisted Military Soldier. Oil Rig Worker (which is essentially a Roustabout) comes in fourth last, then Newspaper Reporter, Waiter/Waitress, Meter Reader, Dishwasher, Butcher, Broadcaster and Shoemaker/Repairer.

Right in the middle, in spots 99, 110 and 101, are Automobile Body Repair, Cosmetologist and Artist (Fine Arts). Last year they were Broadcast Technician, Teacher and Surgeon.

So, how do jobs move around in the lineup?

CareerCast explains that the ranking is based on five “Core Criteria” or “the general categories that are inherent to every job.” These are:

  • Environment,
  • Income,
  • Outlook,
  • Stress
  • and Physical Demands.

So, if the Environment and Income are excellent but the Physical Demands are many, the job will rank lower than if you got to do it sitting on a cloud and listening to Biggie Smalls. You get it.

For Software Engineers, the pay is great, demand for the skills is off the charts and working conditions are top notch, “have never been better,” in fact.

Human Resources Manager, Financial Planner, Occupational Therapist and Online Advertising Manager, meanwhile, are all making their top ten debuts, thanks to “a combination of high incomes, great environments, good job growth and relatively low unemployment rates.”

On the other side, physical labour, declining job opportunities, poor work environment and high stress are all common among the worst jobs.

Lumberjacks scored in the bottom 10% in all of the ranking categories except income, where they were in the bottom 25%. Unemployment for Lumberjacks is also high, with the demand for their services expected to fall further through 2016. Lumberjack is also one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.

Jake Rose, owner of Dry Brook Custom Sawmilling in Upstate New York, however, says “It’s not that the demand for the job is declining. It’s finding people who want to do it and work hard at it that is declining.” He adds, “We’re still using paper and wood products all the time, but nowadays, kids would rather play video games instead of working hard and getting their hands dirty.”

Of course, the dismal placement of Newspaper Reporter and Broadcaster is due to the digital takeover. On-the-job stress, and declining job opportunities and income levels are the reason they ranked so low.

Just like last year, not everyone is on board with CareerCast’s methodology, and the comments section is riddled with ire and snark. Among the commenters are a dental hygienist who complains that the job’s high ranking is “NOT ACCURATE!!!” and someone who says, “HR DIRECTOR NO STRESS?? whoever wrote this is a total and complete idiot.”

Someone else snips, “Oh didn’t get out of the coffee shop writing this then? Well skilful analysis, careful editorial control etc. I can see why you might consider reporting a worst job.”

People have also pleaded cases for why their own crappy jobs should rank lower, including a special ed teacher and an HR manager, while at least one has argued that the military should be ranked among the best, rather than the worst.

So, the list might not be an exact representation of whether a particular job is good or bad. It’s still worth a good look. Head on over here and see how each position ranks, as well as the breakdown.

The 10 Best Jobs of 2012

  • Software Engineers
  • Actuary
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Financial Planner
  • Audiologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Online Advertising Manager
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Mathematician

The 10 Worst Jobs of 2012

  • Lumberjack
  • Dairy Farmer
  • Enlisted Military Soldier
  • Oil Rig Worker
  • Newspaper Reporter
  • Waiter/Waitress, Meter Reader
  • Dishwasher
  • Butcher
  • Broadcaster
  • Shoemaker/Repairer

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