Back To Career News

The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs

Does your job make the world a better place? Some professions are more likely to answer "yes" to that question than others – and which ones might surprise you. PayScale's report, The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs, looks at which occupations have high meaning, and which make workers feel like their job is hurting the world more than helping. If you're thinking about changing careers, or just want to see how your job stacks up, this report is for you.

Does your job make the world a better place? Some professions are more likely to answer “yes” to that question than others – and which ones might surprise you. PayScale’s report, The Most and Least Meaningful Jobs, looks at which occupations have high meaning, and which make workers feel like their job is hurting the world more than helping. If you’re thinking about changing careers, or just want to see how your job stacks up, this report is for you.

surgeon 

(Photo Credit: salimfadhley/Flickr)

First, a note on methodology. To determine the most and least meaningful jobs, PayScale surveyed 2.7 million workers, dividing their occupations into 23 job groupings according to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). Respondents were asked, “Does your work make the world a better place?” Those who answered “yes” or “very much so” were counted in the “high meaning” category, and the jobs that had the most high-meaning votes shot to the top of the list.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

On the other side of the coin, PayScale determined the least meaningful jobs by looking at the occupations that inspired respondents to answer, “My job makes the world a worse place.”

One takeaway from the report is immediately obvious: you don’t need to choose between meaning and money, although if you want both, you’ll have to select your occupation with care. Also, you might want to think about going into healthcare: as a category, healthcare practitioners have a median annual pay of $83,500, and 82 percent report high job meaning.

Break it down by job title, and the dominance of healthcare is even clearer: eight of the highest paid, high-meaning jobs are in healthcare:

1. Surgeons

Median Annual Pay: $304,000

Percent High Meaning: 96 percent

2. Anesthesiologists

Median Annual Pay: $273,000

Percent High Meaning: 91 percent

3. Obstetricians & Gynecologists

Median Annual Pay: $204,000

Percent High Meaning: 79 percent

4. Psychiatrists

Median Annual Pay: $197,000

Percent High Meaning: 92 percent

5. Internists

Median Annual Pay: $197,000

Percent High Meaning: 83 percent

6. Family & General Practitioners

Median Annual Pay: $165,000

Percent High Meaning: 90 percent

7. Pediatricians

Median Annual Pay: $149,000

Percent High Meaning: 88 percent

8. Dentists

Median Annual Pay: $129,000

Percent High Meaning: 86 percent

What does all this mean for you, the potential career-changer? If both money and meaning are important to you, healthcare might be the place to start your search. On the other hand, healthcare jobs aren’t the only occupations that meet those criteria. To see how your dream career stacks up, search for it specifically in the interactive chart, below.

Tell Us What You Think

Did your job make the list? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.