best jobs 2012

Best and Worst Jobs of 2012

According to, as reported in today’s Wall Street Journal, here are the best jobs of 2012:, a career web site owned by Adicio Inc. ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. The firm used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies to determine the rankings. The 200 jobs were selected for their relevance in the current labor market as well as the availability of reliable data. For instance, enlisted military personnel – the third worst job of 2012 – was added this year thanks to new data released by the Department of Defense.

Tony Lee, publisher of, said he wasn’t surprised to see software engineers topping the list. But he was surprised to find human resource managers rising to the No. 3 spot. In an era of layoffs, anxious employees, and cutbacks that often reduce back-office functions like HR, he says, he often hears HR managers complaining about the stresses of their jobs.

But with hiring on the rebound for the last few months and expected to heat up further as the economy recovers, the job outlook for human resource professionals is bright, and that brought the career to its high ranking.

The worst job out of the 200 examined? It’s lumberjack. The job replaced last year’s loser, roustabout, also known as an oil rig worker. With oil prices trending high, hiring for energy jobs is robust, while the ongoing slump in new housing construction has depressed demand for lumber and thus for lumberjacks, says Mr. Lee. Add to that the physical dangers of the job and a midlevel salary of $32,114, and it ranked at the bottom of the list. 

Here’s an interactive table of the 200 jobs that were ranked.

Do you agree with the rankings?  Where is your job on this list?  Our jobs as professors are not specifically listed, but as we love them, we would say that they should be ranked highly.