What are the top jobs? Is it doctor? Software developer? Glazier (craftsperson who cuts and installs glass)?
According to U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the best jobs for 2014, they all make the list. In addition to shedding light on what people consider to be the best jobs, the ranking reveals what people make in salary, the extensive mix of jobs available and the fastest growing industries. As a small-business owner looking to hire, or an entrepreneur looking to strike out on your own, you can gain interesting, useful insight from this data.
Before You Hire
There are several interesting things you should consider before hiring your next employee.
1. Glamor isn’t everything. The No. 1 rated job is software developer, No. 2 is computer systems analyst, and No. 3 is dentist. Although few people would find those three jobs glamorous, the Top 100 list is filled with these kinds of jobs. Just as not every singer or actor out there is in Hollywood or nominated for a Grammy, most small businesses in America aren't the Facebooks and Teslas of the world. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Tip for small-business owners: When trying to recruit talent, don’t undersell the jobs you have to offer. Your business may not be glamorous—few are—yet it's your business you worked hard to grow. Let your passion shine through, and remember although you don't see the position as a top job (it might just not be your thing), someone else will.
2. Some people make more than you think. The salary ranges given for the top 100 were eye opening. For instance, did you know that a speech pathologist ($55,000 to $87,000) may make almost as much as an architect ($56,000 to $93,000)? Or that a marketing manager ($85,000 to $160,000) may make substantially more than an architect?
Or how about No. 9 on the list, the Web developer? He or she may be at roughly the same pay level ($44,000 to $83,000) as a high school teacher ($44,000 to $69,000), but has more potential to move upward, which is valuable.
Tip for small-business owners: If you haven’t hired recently, check out the compensation ranges listed for your industry and the position you’re looking to fill. It will help temper expectations as well as put you in line with what you need.
Importance of Work-Life Balance?
Perhaps the most surprising revelation was that factors such as "flexibility in schedule" and "lower stress levels" seem to count for very little—at least as far as the rankings are concerned. The factors used in determining the U.S. News’ rankings and the amount of weight given to each are as follows:
- Median Salary (30%)
- Job Prospects (20%)
- Employment Rate (20%)
- 10-Year Growth Volume (10%)
- 10-Year Growth Percentage (10%)
- Stress Level (5%)
- Work-Life Balance (5%)
At first glance. it looks like pay matters the most. But add up the four factors underneath, and you see that the rankings give more total weight—60 percent—to job security and potential growth than it does to pay. Quality of life factors are given the least weight.
Whether you agree or disagree with that breakout, it's important to keep it in mind when "selling" your company or position to prospective employees. You don't want to oversell the work-life balance aspect of the job, when all they really want to know is if the job is secure.
Looking for the Next Big Idea
Entrepreneurs looking to strike out on their own have a lot of options, spanning dozens of industries.
1. Growth industries may surprise you, or not. We’ve all heard about the growth in the medical and health-care field. But if that doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other industries to get into. And what’s really interesting is the mix. Knowledge jobs as well as traditional labor-oriented occupations are both well represented in the top 100.
For example, if you like to work with your hands and hate being tied down to an office, there are plenty of good opportunities, such as physician, financial advisor and lawyer—all knowledge workers—as well as fitness worker, paramedic, plumber and painter—all active pursuits.
Tip for entrepreneurs: There’s an opportunity for everyone; you just need to know what you like to do and then seize the opportunity to make it your own.
2. There's a business idea around every corner. In a world of TV shows portraying occupations from gator hunter to tattoo artist, we tend to forget the good jobs that will never be highlighted on the screen in your living room, but are well worth pursuing for the right person.
No. 16 on the Top 100 list is phlebotomist, someone who draws blood for testing. (If you are one of the 3 to 4 percent of the population who swoons at the sight of blood, that’s not the best occupation.) And what about the occupation of glazier? That’s a craftsman who cuts and installs glass for buildings. Glazier, with a median salary of about $38,000, is No. 90 on the list of top jobs. The pay isn’t the primary draw there, but other things recommend it, including job opportunities.
Tip for entrepreneurs: One of these little-known occupations may trigger an idea for your next business opportunity.
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