The Most (and Least) Meaningful Jobs

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The Least Meaningful Jobs

16. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers
> Pct. job meaning:
28%
> Employment: 25,270
> Annual median wage: $37,060
> Job satisfaction: 53%

Of the jewelers and precious stone and metal workers surveyed by PayScale, just 28% said they felt their work makes the world a better place. While they often produce and sell very expensive items, jewelers and precious stone and metal workers do not earn high wages — the median annual wage is just slightly more than the median pay across all occupations. While only a small share of these workers find their jobs meaningful, fewer still will be able to find meaning in coming years. Employment in this occupation is expected to shrink by 11.3% in the next 10 years as these jobs are expected to go overseas. To compare, employment across all occupations is expected to grow by 7%.

15. Multimedia artists and animators
> Pct. job meaning:
28%
> Employment: 30,240
> Annual median wage: $63,970
> Job satisfaction: 65%

Only 28% of multimedia artists and animators feel that their work makes a difference in the world, one of the smallest shares of any occupation in the country. Jobs in the field rarely require more than a bachelor’s degree and typically involve digitally creating animation and effects for video games, television, and movies. While workers in the field may not find their job especially meaningful, many likely have a greater degree of flexibility and independence in their work as more than half of all workers in the field are self employed.

14. Cooks, fast food
> Pct. job meaning:
28%
> Employment: 520,010
> Annual median wage: $19,080
> Job satisfaction: 48%

Jobs in the fast food industry are often considered entry level and are commonly held by high school and college students. People rarely find fulfillment in such jobs. Only 28% of fast food cooks say that their job makes a difference in the world. With no formal educational barrier to entry, wages are relatively low in the field. A typical fast food cook earns only $19,080, far less than the median salary of $36,200 across all occupations.

13. Pourers and casters, metal
> Pct. job meaning:
27%
> Employment: 9,630
> Annual median wage: $33,850
> Job satisfaction: 64%

Pourers and casters use molten metal to produce specific castings or ingots. The vast majority of workers in the field report working in uncomfortable surroundings with extremely high temperatures and distracting noise levels on a daily basis. Only 27% of metal pourers and casters think that their job makes the world a better place.

12. Brokerage clerks
> Pct. job meaning:
27%
> Employment: 57,490
> Annual median wage: $48,180
> Job satisfaction: 59%

Brokerage clerks work at brokerage firms, assisting in the trading of stocks by recording and verifying transactions, computing taxes, and tracking price changes. A typical broker clerk is paid reasonably well, with a median wage of $48,180 a year, higher than the national median of $36,200. Only 27% of brokerage clerks said they felt they were making the world a better place. While employment in many of the least fulfilling positions is expected to decline in the coming years, the number of brokerage clerks is expected to increase by 9% over the next 10 years, a higher projected growth compared to the 7% growth rate across all jobs.

11. Printing press operators
> Pct. job meaning:
27%
> Employment: 168,330
> Annual median wage: $35,240
> Job satisfaction: 55%

Some of the responsibilities of printing press operators include setting and aligning the presses, using the proper ink to meet job specifications, and random inspections of printed material in order to catch and errors. Jobs in the field require a high capacity for stress and attention to detail. Due in part to the declining newspaper industry, employment in the field is projected to decline by 2% by 2024, while employment across all occupations is projected to grow by 7% by 2024. Only 27% of printing press operators feel their job makes the world a better place.