You’re in the right business

April 12, 2012 | Last updated on April 12, 2012
3 min read

A recent study by has revealed the top ten best and worst jobs of 2011 in the U.S. Congratulations—financial planner made the cut as the fifth-best job currently on the market.

Not only do financial planners enjoy relatively high pay and enviable job security, they have considerably lower stress levels than those who hold jobs in the media, farming, natural resources industries, or the U.S. Army, all of which landed in the ten worst list.

In fact, planners generally earn more than other workers, with an average salary of $104,161, beaten out only by pharmacists and engineers.

In terms of security, the potential for planners to raise their level of income and see a rise in job prospects ranked high. One major factor is the growing number of retirees as well as the number of people entering the workforce with little pension support. Financial professionals are now more important than ever when it comes their clients’ plans, futures and general success.

In addition, people across North America have become more aware of their poor financial literacy levels. Online tools that help detect fraud and aid couples in their planning, for example, are springing up everyday. And high school students are being taught the basics of finance in the U.S. From single women and men to families and business owners, all clients need the help advisors to ensure they’re on the right track.

It’s not surprising the physical demands on financial planners are minimal compared to a lumberjack, the worst job on the CareerCast list. Overtime hours were also considered as part of the labour score, but the survey found that planners enjoy a positive work/life balance. They don’t have to work longer hours and are not subject to the stress and labour involved in clocking more than eight hours a day.

CareerCast analyzed 200 jobs based on the work environment, physical demands, current outlook, income level and stress level that each offered. These five categories are considered “the core criteria inherent to every job” but aren’t equally weighted. If a position offers good pay and long-term security, the other three “preferential factors” will be accepted, since employees mainly work for income and stability. Overall, the group weights income and security each as one third of the score, and the other three combined as the last third.

The group releases the survey to help job hunters get a clear picture of the current popular jobs on the market. Their analysts say, “most end up in their career because of suggestions by a parent or teacher, or because a job opened up at the right moment,” and hope that the survey helps people find a high-quality job that matches their skills, and aids in job market research.

In general, the list shows that jobs based on technical and digital skills are valuable. Positions that focus on planning and rehabilitation for the aging population, as well as jobs that help drive employment are also crucial.

On the opposite end, jobs based on hard physical labour are becoming too demanding, while positions in media are becoming scarcer and offer low compensation.

Top ten best jobs Top ten worst jobs
1. Software Engineer 2. Actuary 3. Human resources manager 4. Dental hygienist 5. Financial planner 6. Audiologist 7. Occupational therapist 8. Online advertising manager 9. Computer systems analyst 10. Applied mathematician 1. Lumberjack 2. Dairy farmer 3. Enlisted soldier 4. Oil rig worker 5. Newspaper reporter 6. Waitress/waiter 7. Meter reader 8. Dishwasher 9. Butcher 10. Broadcaster