Well, it's happened again. Another job search site – CareerCast – has come up with their list of the best (and worst) jobs of 2017.
On the top of the heap are jobs that generally involve math and science. Here are their top five best jobs:
OK, perhaps not the most exciting jobs out there. But they're not very stressful, they pay well, and they're in-demand.
Now for the bottom of the list – the worst jobs based on 200 different categories:
So there you have it. DJs, broadcaster, and newspaper journalist are right there with the guy who shows up from Orkin to rid your house of termites, enlisted members of the military, and loggers (no, not bloggers).
Why is being a broadcaster such a low rated position? According to the study, broadcasters earn the lowest marks on work environment, stress, and projected growth. Looking at these bottom ranked positions makes a statement about careers in both commercial and public radio, and that demanded a little investigative reporting of my own.
I took a look at the methodology CareerCast uses to build this study, to get a better understanding of why these media positions are all so poorly rated.
“Environment” measures variables such as competitiveness and public contact – areas that are part and parcel of most jobs in broadcasting. And by the way, these are typically conditions that most people in radio thrive on and even welcome as part of the buzz of the job.
Stress factors in CareerCast's measurement is “meeting the public,” “working in the public eye,” and “deadlines” – all listed as negatives. And yet, they are job characteristics the majority of radio people embrace and excel at.
Income and growth potential are also key factors in these rankings. And clearly, broadcasting, journalism, and radio get knocked down in these areas. Media, in general, is under pressure, finding that next job isn't easy, and salaries for many have taken a hit in the last decade or so. There's not a lot of job security.
But in some ways, hasn't it always been like this in radio? Even when the industry was in its heyday in the '70s, and '80s, it was never easy to find that first job. I would venture to say that most of the people in the people now occupying the best positions in broadcasting started out as an intern, the overnight DJs, or doing something menial in a newsroom. And many have adopted the book-to-book mindset, because broadcasting has been based on performance and results from its beginnings.
But there's one missing element in CareerCast's methodology that penalizes radio specifically, and media in general:
I can't tell you how many social situations I find myself in where the conversation turns to careers, and the attorneys, dentists, and CPAs in the room seem a lot more fascinated by what I do for a living than talking about their jobs.
And while income, stress, and environment are all elements that can make broadcasting tenuous at times, my assumption is that job satisfaction is what drives many of us to work those long hours. Whether you're playing Country music in afternoon drive in Tucson, hosting “Morning Edition” for the public radio station in Sacramento, or selling time for the Alternative station in Boston, chances are you're challenged, stimulated, and energized by what you're doing. Many in radio get off on entertaining and informing audiences, serving communities, and building great brands. In the radio business, a single person, station, or team can make a big difference.
Most of us didn't get into radio – public or commercial – to make a killing financially, to earn great benefits, or have a career that wasn't non-stressful. Most of us didn't pursue a broadcasting career because we were seeking a secure profession.
Most of us knew what we were getting into…and on most days, radio delivers.
But that's me talking. Maybe you see it differently. Or perhaps you were a lot more optimistic about the field a dozen years ago, but now find yourself jaded, unhappy, or even remorseful about your decision to go into radio. I know some have left the field entirely or have been cast aside – victims of a harsher media and economic environment.
So let's run our own very unscientific survey. And let's keep the “methodology” simple:
On a 1-10 scale, how satisfied are you with your career in radio broadcasting? “10” is “highly satisfied” while “1” is “not satisfied at all.”
You can use the comments section below or hit me up on my Facebook or Twitter pages. Give me the number, your specific area (DJ, public radio reporter, station manager, etc.), and a line as to why you feel the way you do. If you prefer to not use your name, that's fine, too.
And finally, why all the hubbub about a lousy ranking from a jobs website? Because these lists tend to be well-covered online, as well as by media outlets looking for buzzworthy content. Investors see these stories, too, and they factor into broader perceptions of an industry. If the worst jobs are in broadcast-related fields, why would anyone want to make radio, TV, and print companies part of their portfolios?
A career in radio may not be as glamorous as it was decades ago. Most blame radio's current condition on consolidation and other factors beyond their control. But disruption is a major part of the story, too, and there are few industries that haven't been upended and redefined by the Internet and the technology that's followed. That's just the way it is.
So how does radio (and your job) rank on your own personal career yardstick?
Hopefully, better than all those loggers out there.
The entire CareerCast list is here.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.