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Top jobs list sends the wrong message

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 00:04

Software engineers got a boost of satisfaction in their chosen profession last week, as the position earned the title of best job for the second year in a row in a list of the top 200 jobs by careercast.com.

Yet the list poses some dire questions for the future of the American workforce, as crucial positions such as enlisted military soldier, newspaper reporter and broadcaster were ranked among the worst jobs, despite their importance to the country’s freedom and information.

According to careercast.com, jobs were ranked based on five criteria: environment, income, outlook, stress and physical demand. The less stress and physical demand a job required, the higher its rating. The site also looked for which positions would bring in the bigger paycheck and more frequent job opportunities, catapulting some of the most critical jobs to the bottom of the list and heralding human resource managers, audiologists and financial planners as the positions to strive for.

While a lack of physical activity may make a job “easier,” it does not necessarily make workers feel happier or more fulfilled. A study by the University of Bristol found that people are less stressed and more productive on days when they exercise.

Championing positions that require little physical activity will certainly not benefit the already-declining health of Americans, and praising positions with little to no stress won’t benefit the U.S. economy, either.

American workers are becoming increasingly less productive and companies are hiring less-skilled workers, according to msn.com. As a result, the economy is operating at 5 percent below its potential output, which equates to a loss of nearly $1 trillion.

“The average income of U.S. households headed by 25-year-olds and younger has been declining relative to the average income of the baby boomer population,” economist Alan Greenspan said to The Globalist. “This is a reasonably good indication that the productivity of the younger part of our workforce is declining relative to the level of productivity achieved by the retiring baby boomers.”

As such, the placement of some of the lower positions on the list should be questioned.

Journalists may have to deal with stress and diminishing job availability, but this makes today’s reporters particularly productive and timely as they deal with an increased workload.

Likewise, enlisted military personnel may deal with stress and physical demand in a time of war, but knowing they are protecting their country’s freedom couldn’t be more rewarding or significant.

Though the study is not a scientific one, it has gotten a good amount of attention on media outlets such as CNN, and it ultimately sends the wrong message. American workers shouldn’t aspire to the most comfortable jobs, but the most important.

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