Technology has wreaked havoc in the job market. And the current economy shows the unemployment rate at before 4%. Those factors change the dynamics that impact the hiring – and firing – of American workers.
These conditions have changed the ways in which various professions are valued – by consumers and job-seekers alike. Right now, a new USA Today story highlights the 25 worst jobs in America, based on a 247 Wall St. analysis of 2018 CareerCast data. The countdown is based on factors like job security, work environment, stress, and compensation.
I'll spare you the drama and hassle of having to scroll through the entire list. The worst job in the U.S., based on this study, is driving a taxi cab. Louie DePalma might disagree, but based on the bad hours, the mediocre pay, and other negative factors, it's at the bottom of this ignominious ranker. And with Uber and Lyft rising in popularity, the contrast to the typical taxi cab experience is becoming more evident over time.
It seems like there's one of these dreadful workforce studies every year that captures headlines. And year in and year out, radio broadcasting careers (and related gigs) continue to show up as undesirable. It's notable that a newspaper – USA Today – gave this story prominent coverage. The position of newspaper reporter comes in as the third worst job on this list.
This year, however, is a rare trifecta for radio. Three positions – broadcaster, DJ, and ad sales rep – clock in at #7, 8, and 9 on this list. Here are the lowlights:
#9 – Advertising salesperson – True, this position isn't necessarily a radio station rep, and in fact, the analysis refers to the dwindling number of newspaper jobs. But a look around most stations' cubicles reveals that fewer are occupied these days. The CareerCast survey projects that over the next decade, these positions will pay 3.6% less than they do now, with fewer positions available.
#8 – Broadcaster – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a drop of 3.2% in overall jobs in the U.S. over the next 10 years. They note that while many broadcasters have college degrees, the mean annual salary for these positions is just over $49,000 – just a shade over the median pay scale for all jobs in America.
#7 – Disc jockeys – Coming in just ahead of corrections office, the report notes DJs “are projected to face one of the most challenging working environments in the future.” Blaming a tough job market on audio streaming, podcasts, and other entertainment options. They report a staggering decline of 11.6% for DJ jobs, nothing the average salary of $34K is more than $3,500 below the average job in the U.S.
So, that's the good news – another prominent national study that pegs radio broadcasting jobs (and those in related industries) among the worst in the country.
These clickbait surveys often work because we love lists, and they are wonderful Internet time killers. But we're talking careers – and there are many who take these annual reports seriously.
Somehow in the sea of data provided by CareerCast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other sources used to compile this list, I don't see the researchers taking job satisfaction into account. Instead, it's about salary, danger, stress levels, public scrutiny, and other factors.
I don't have data for radio sellers or broadcasters in general. So, any feedback I could provide on their current state of mind is purely anecdotal.
But with air talent, we have the metrics, thanks to the AQ study of 1,100 radio personalities conducted last spring along with Don Anthony's Morning Show Boot Camp.
Here's the key data point that jumps out at me every time I open our AQ PowerPoint deck:
Because it's fun, to entertain, and emotional fulfillment are the top three reasons “disc jockeys” feel about their profession. When eight of every ten respondents say that being on the air is fun, I'm hard-pressed to think of any job in the U.S. that could match that level of satisfaction. And when a majority say it's emotionally fulfilling to be on the radio, I just don't run into too many of my friends outside our business who feel that way about what they do for a living – whether they're teachers, lawyers, social workers, or physicians.
But don't take my word for it. Tomorrow's JacoBLOG will go right to the horses' mouths – in this case, a radio sales rep, program manager, and yes, air talent to take their temperature in 2019. How's that radio career going? How do they feel about having chosen one of the “worst” jobs in America? And what's their outlook for the future?
Johnny Paycheck's feeling about his job (and what you could do with it) turned into a hit record. For the radio workforce, let's find out if the sentiment is the same.
Here's one of Country's original “outlaws” singing his biggest hit, always a great way to start a work week:
AQ2 goes into the field this spring, and will be presented at Morning Show Boot Camp this August in Chicago. Details 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.