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Best and Worst Jobs of 2011

January 17, 2011

I get a lot of emails — several hundred a day  — and sometimes you see one that makes me say, “whoa!”

People who work in the news media have endured several years of budget cuts, layoffs, increased workloads, little or no pay raises or pay cuts. A new report just out shows just how much these jobs have lost their luster.

Each year Career Cast rates the top 200 jobs based on 5 categories: income, outlook, work environment, physical demands and stress.

At the top of the list is software engineer, mainly because they make more than $80,000 a year, are in big demand and the Career Cast help-wanted site has more than 7,000 openings. Close behind is mathematician at $94,000 and more than 1500 openings. An oil industry roustabout is at the bottom of the list. The pay is about $30,000, work is physically demanding, must be done whether the weather is freezing or scorching and there are only 12 openings.

What caught my attention was newspaper reporter. It’s way down at 188, slightly below child care worker, photojournalist and dairy farmer. The job is rated above sailor, stevedore and cabbie.

This should come as no surprise thanks to the upheaval in the newspaper industry. We all know the pay is not great ($34, 275), the work environment can be tough and full of stress and the hiring outlook is not good.

But, to be rated below a dairy farmer or childcare worker. Really? That is not to disparage childcare workers or dairy farmers because they do very important work. It does show how the bedrock of the 4th estate has become so devalued. In 2009 the job was listed at 140. Electronic media have not escaped: In 2009 newscaster was listed at 78. Now it’s 128.

When I see this I think about all of the reporters, anchors, editors, photographers and columnists who have lost their jobs during the recession. It makes me a little sad but I’m also grateful that I still get to report the news and interpret how it affects the listener, reader and/or viewer.

It also make me wonder if I should have paid better attention in those computer and math classes.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 18, 2011 5:33 am

    It is definitely a catch-22. I graduated 5 years ago and I work part-time as a Radio Desk Assistant. Every time I apply for full-time, a News Director or Managing Editor says “I don’t have enough experience”. They’ll hire me for the same job freelance, but not full-time. And then follow up with why haven’t I worked full-time yet. Now, my answer is “no one will hire me full-time” so I work whatever hours I can get just to have the opportunity”. I still want to do more with my voice. Every other year I go to the #NABJ convention and it’s the same song and dance: “send me your resume and we’ll follow up”, but I don’t give up hope. As I was in the position before as an intern trying to get hired as a Desk Assistant and that happened. I wouldn’t want to do anything else, but it’s beyond frustrating.

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