Just this past week, US News posted an article with their list of 25 best jobs for 2015 (their full list actually has 100 jobs listed). As I’ve previously said on several occasions, these lists are often problematic…but, hey, they’re still fun and interesting to look at.
They are, of course, very subjective. And obviously some of these jobs will be very appealing to some individuals while not at all to others. But, in an effort to create some objective measures to rank different jobs, they use a weighted scale across seven different metrics to get an overall score for each occupation. See the ranking metrics below:
The overall score is calculated from seven component measures, and for each measure, jobs receive a score between 0 and 10. Here are the component measures and their weights in computing the overall score:
● 10-Year Growth Volume (10 percent)
● 10-Year Growth Percentage (10 percent)
● Median Salary (30 percent)
● Job Prospects (20 percent)
● Employment Rate (20 percent)
● Stress Level (5 percent)
● Work-Life Balance (5 percent)
So they do give their metrics, some of which are more objective than others. For example, stress level and work-life balance seem to be pretty subjective, though they are gIven less weight in the rankings. Median salary and employment rate, on the other hand, are pretty objective measures and make up a large percentage of the rankings.
What immediately jumps out to me on this list is the overwhelming dominance of healthcare professions. Of the top 10 ranked jobs above, 7 are in the field of healthcare. And it’s not top heavy just in those first ten… 13 (possibly 15-16 depending on what you include) of the top 30 ranked jobs are in the healthcare field.
So healthcare may be a good field to get into when thinking about jobs.
However, it’s also good to take a close look at the metrics they are using to rank these best jobs. Looking at their measures above, 60% of the score each job receives seems to be closely associated to the job growth and employment rate. I’m wondering if they are, in a sense, “double counting” jobs that are growing. That is, it seems very likely to me that a job with a high growth rate will also have a low unemployment rate and also have high job prospects. If you are a growing profession, you essentially win their ranking war. If you couple that growth with a good salary, then you really win their ranking war, as that those two measures account for 90% of your ranking score.
Even if the measures above are “double counted” in some way, I would still make the argument that those two measures are good to use. Can I get a job? How much will I make? Those are two very important questions to consider when thinking about jobs. Of course, people will – and should! – consider and weigh their own interests in the equation, but that is something specific to the individual and thus too subjective to try and fit into a list such as this.