Job security and unemployment are two issues that dominate both the political and social spheres. What skills should young Americans be looking to develop for a career in the future? Which sectors pay the best wages? Where can you find a better work-life balance?
U.S. News & World Report just took on these questions in their 2017 Best Jobs report.
The new rankings looked at the year’s best jobs across 15 categories to unveil everything from best-paying jobs to diverse sectors to help for job seekers. To do this they took data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify jobs with the greatest hiring demand. Professions were then compared across seven areas: 10-year growth volume, 10-year growth percentage, median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level and work-life balance. A list was then compiled of jobs ranked according to their ability to meet those employment concerns.
So which profession topped the list this year? Dentist ranks as the best job overall, followed by nurse practitioner at No. 2 and physician assistant at No. 3. In fact, 52 of the 100 best jobs were in health-related fields — something the news outlet attributes to an aging baby boomer population and increased demand for medical services.
“Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can’t be exported or entirely replaced by robots — at least not yet,” said Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News, in a statement. “Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education.”
It’s also no surprise that the top five best-paying jobs are also in health care, with anesthesiologist taking the top spot, followed by surgeon at No. 2, oral and maxillofacial surgeon at No. 3, obstetrician and gynecologist at No. 4, and orthodontist at No. 5.
The only non-health related job to break the top five best jobs list was a statistician (No. 4), while mathematician came in at No. 20 because of the increase of data and use of advanced analytics across sectors. “Almost every type of company is hiring people to collect, analyze and provide insights on data to improve their operations,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer, in a statement. “These roles — along with technology positions — are going to be important to almost any business in the future.”
If you don’t fall into one of those categories, don’t worry, because there's still good news overall. Unemployment dipped below 5 percent, the lowest level since 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus, job growth is expected to increase by 6.5 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to BLS data, creating almost 10 million new jobs.
"I think it's generally a positive year," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm, in a statement. "The economy is strong, unemployment is continuing to drop... unless we tip into a recession."
Top 10 Best Jobs in 2017
2. Nurse Practitioner
3. Physician Assistant
6. Nurse Anesthetist
8. Computer Systems Analyst
9. (tie) Obstetrician and Gynecologist
9. (tie) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon