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The 8 Most Overrated (and Underrated) Jobs

Business News Daily Editor
Business News Daily Editor

Highly desirable professions, like positions as advertising executives, authors and broadcasters, top this year's rankings of the most overrated jobs.

  • While some jobs look like the best and most desirable occupations on the planet, they often do not provide all that they perceive. In fact, some jobs are simply overrated.
  • On the other hand, there are jobs that on the outside seem like the worst jobs to ever have. However, they are actually not too bad and can be quite fulfilling.
  • According to a 2016 poll from CareerCast, here is a list of the top eight most overrated, and top eight most underrated jobs. In most cases, the jobs sound great or bad because of the title, but the job itself is different from the way it is advertised.

Despite how they may look from the outside, many jobs aren't all they're cracked up to be. That includes highly sought-after professions like positions as advertising executives, authors and broadcasters, which top the year 2016's rankings from CareerCast of the most overrated jobs.

While they might seem glamorous, the jobs named most overrated in 2016 were chosen because they are often stressful, involve long hours and have high turnover rates.

Kyle Kensing, online content editor for CareerCast, said the overrated jobs are careers that generate high interest and offer a certain level of prestige, but that all rank in the bottom half of CareerCast's annual "Jobs Rated" report. The annual report ranks 200 jobs based on their environments (emotional, physical and hours worked), income (growth potential and salary), outlook (employment growth, income growth potential and unemployment) and stress.

"Some [of the overrated jobs] have a high number of college students either graduating from or enrolled in degree programs, hence the favorable 'rating' that [our] Jobs Rated scores suggest might be overvalued," Kensing told Business News Daily.

For the second year in a row, advertising executive tops 2016's list of the most overrated jobs. Kensing said the idea of working in advertising and schmoozing clients over bourbon and steaks seems exciting, but that image is a far cry from reality.

"It's important a job seeker knows the challenges that go into such a field, like the stress levels and lack of downtime," he said.

Broadcaster also ranked in the top five for the second consecutive year.

"For broadcasters, the attraction of appearing on television might bring some into the field initially, but the poor outlook, increasingly competitive marketplace and demands weed out many," Kensing said.

Here are the eight jobs CareerCast said are most overrated, along with the annual median salary and growth outlook for those positions in 2016:

  • Advertising account executive: $124,850/9%
    • In some situations, the title account executive actually means sales representative. While the title itself sounds like a great opportunity, the actual daily routine of the job is less than ideal.
  • Author: $60,520/2%
    • An author has a lot of freedom to express their ideas and make their stories come to life. However, they often have to deal with several rounds of editing and proofing their novels before they even land on a bookshelf. In many cases, this editing process is expensive.
  • Broadcaster: $37,720/-9%
    • Broadcasters are always in the spotlight. For some people, it is a great experience. For others, it is tough to have a personal life.
  • Corporate executive: $102,690/6%

  • Event coordinator: $46,840/10%

  • Photographer: $31,170/3%
    • Photographers can work a variety of events. Sure you might like taking pictures, but do you want to spend hours editing the photos? Or having to redo the edits because a customer does not like them? You also might have to work at a wedding in the summer heat, or worse, in the rain or snow.
  • Public relations executive: $104,140/7%
    • From crisis management to damage control, public relations executives have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to protecting the reputation of a particular company or brand.
  • Stockbroker: $71,550/10%
    • While a stockbroker does sound like a very important and luxurious job, think Wolf of Wall Street, according to CEcorp, stockbrokers often work 50+ hours a week. This can definitely lead to a lack of work-life balance for those in the career. 

Kensing said job seekers who are considering going into these fields shouldn't necessarily change their career paths just because the job is considered overrated. "It's less about rethinking your career path and more [about] making the most informed choices possible," he said. "Because one of these jobs landed on our overrated list doesn't mean the right candidates won't love the field."

On the opposite end of the spectrum are jobs that don't get much attention but are highly ranked on CareerCast's "Jobs Rated" list. Many of the jobs on this year's underrated list have good outlooks, low stress and stable work environments.

Here are CareerCast's eight most underrated jobs, and their annual median salary and growth outlooks for this year:

  1. Computer systems analyst: $85,800/21%. A computer systems analyst determines how a company's current computer system is managing, and what ways it can improve. They tend to have the opportunity to provide feedback to chief executives about how to improve the efficiencies within their system.
  2. Diagnostic medical sonographer: $63,630/24%. This fancy title is for those who complete ultrasounds for a variety of patients. They help with pregnancies, as well as a host of other medical diagnostic procedures.
  3. Dietician: $57,910/16%
  4. Environmental engineer: $84,560/12%
  5. Financial analyst: $80,310/12%
  6. Human resources manager: $104,440/9%
  7. Medical technologist: $50,550/16%
  8. Physical therapist: $84,020/34%
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