The best (and worst) jobs for 2014

CareerCast is out with their annual ranking of the 10 best and 10 worst jobs for 2014, and let’s just say that math and science guys everywhere are about to high-five.

Nine out of 10 of the best jobs fell into the STEM career category (science, technology, engineering and math), with the “numbers guys,” in particular, locking in three of the top four spots.

“This absolutely verifies the importance of STEM careers,” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com and JobsRated.com.

CareerCast looks at 200 of the most populated jobs and then ranks them on a variety of criteria that fall into four key categories: environment, income, outlook and stress. (Stress alone has 11 different factors, from high risk to tough deadlines.)

“When you look across a range of criteria — not just salary and hiring outlook but also the work environment, physical factors and stress — [STEM] jobs are the best,” Lee said.

Mathematician was named the best job for 2014, followed by tenured university professor and statistician.

There were some wild swings in the rankings this year — all three of those top jobs jumped double-digits on the list. Normally, you see single-digit moves from year to year. The reason is because the Bureau of Labor Statistics just updated their database to include more recent statistics and projections through 2022.

The results weren’t as dramatic in the 10 worst jobs — many of last year’s worst remained on the list, only moving a few spots either way. That’s because they tend to be dangerous jobs with low pay — factors that simply aren’t changing for these jobs.

Lumberjack earned the distinction of being the worst job, followed by newspaper reporter and enlisted military personnel.

The worst jobs list is where you saw residual effects of the recession peek through: Some of these jobs took an extra hit in the hiring outlook due to industry consolidation, municipal cutbacks or other factors.

One interesting thing you’ll find on the worst list: Many of these people love their jobs, be they lumberjacks, firefighters or broadcasters.

“There are always going to be happy lumberjacks!” Lee quipped, adding, “We’ve talked to happy lumberjacks who say, ‘I love what I do. I love being outdoors. I don’t care that I don’t make much money or that there are layoffs pending.”

The list has a very practical application for teachers, who use it to launch a discussion with their students about careers.

Hmm. That’s a great point. You never hear a kid say he wants to be an actuary when he grows up, do you?!

Hey, someone had to get that conversation started!

The 10 best jobs for 2014:

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