The 10 best and 10 worst jobs of 2011

A placement service has come up with a list that identifies the best and the worst occupations based on a variety factors, from on-the-job stress to hiring outlook.

Having the best or the worst job in the world may be in the eye of the jobholder. But one placement service has come up with a list that identifies the best and the worst based on a variety factors, from on-the-job stress to hiring outlook. has just published its “Jobs Rated” report, with the best and worst jobs of 2011, and software engineers and mathematicians come out on top of a list of 200 professions. The rankings were based on five core criteria: work environment, physical demands, outlook, income and stress.

According to the placement firm’s analysis, software engineers’ jobs cover everything from the design and creation of software for everything from operating systems to cell phone apps to interactive games. Here are the top 10:

  1. Software engineer
  2. Mathematician
  3. Actuary
  4. Statistician
  5. Computer Systems Analyst
  6. Meteorologist
  7. Biologist
  8. Historian
  9. Audiologist
  10. Dental Hygienist

Software engineers are in the catbird seat thanks to two emerging industries: Web applications and cloud computing. As the report observes, "a proliferation of companies making applications for smartphones and tablets, along with the push to develop ‘cloud’ software hosted entirely online, has made the job market for software engineers broader and more diverse. And a diverse job market brings improvements in stress factors such as growth potential and competitiveness, as workers become less beholden to employers or vulnerable to outsourcing.”

Statistician made number 4 on the list of hot jobs, perhaps in large part a reflection of the growth in business intelligence and analytics as a strategic imperative at many companies. In fifth place is computer systems analyst, also driven by the growth in Web and cloud computing.

Just to keep things in perspective, consider the working conditions of the number 1 toughest job identified in the report, that of “roustabout” (also referred to as “roughneck”), those people that work on oil pipelines. Things were tough enough, and now, "thanks to a seven year suspension of offshore drilling in America’s eastern Gulf and Atlantic coastlines, the hiring prospects for oil rig workers have gotten even worse....  Despite being part of the still-booming oil business, the Outlook for Roustabouts in 2011 is similar to jobs like photographic process worker, shoemaker and bookbinder – all professions that are part of fading industries."

Here is the list of more unfortunate occupations, at least in CareerCast's opinion:

  1. Roustabout
  2. Ironworker
  3. Lumberjack
  4. Roofer
  5. Taxi Driver
  6. Emergency Medical Technician
  7. Welder
  8. Painter
  9. Meter Reader
  10. Construction Worker

This post was originally published on


You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All