Careers in finance, medicine and media often are seen as the most glamorous jobs in the world. But having the mettle to face the daily and long-term challenges in these coveted jobs is a rare quality many of us don't share. In addition, the job's duties often aren't what they may seem, especially if the job seeker isn't prepared for the grinding work they require or the technical changes that have evolved the nature of each job.
Consider stockbrokers, for example. The perception is of crowded trading floors full of brokers working feverishly to buy and sell shares before the closing bell. It's an image synonymous with the American economic system - and it's completely outdated.
Online brokerage firms are the new normal for the industry, and technology has made the career a more solitary pursuit for most stockbrokers who spend their days in a quiet setting on the computer. "Trading floor activity has become much more automated,” says Don Pratl, senior manager of education at Trade Monster in Chicago. He estimates that at the Windy City’s exchanges, trading floor activity is nearly one-tenth the size it was 10 years ago. So if your goal is to re-enact the final scene from "Trading Places" each day, this career may be overrated.
High turnover is a common theme for many of the many overrated jobs. Advertising account executive again ranks as the nation's most overrated job due to its highly competitive nature. "Cutthroat" is a term most commonly used for this career path, and competition to earn commissions often leads to frequent job changes.
Law is another field that tends to be overrated, as a constant influx of new job candidates outpaces demand. Meanwhile, more attorneys in the field are considering career changes in greater numbers due to what The Wall Street Journal calls, “rising job dissatisfaction” brought on by reduced budgets and an even greater requirement to work incredibly long hours.
Architecture is a career that's often seen as glamorous, but due to spotty construction hiring since the outset of the economic recession, architects’ job prospects have suffered. A recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that recent college graduates with architecture degrees faced a 13.9% unemployment rate – the worst of any major.
Rigorous entry standards characterize some of the most overrated jobs, including surgeon. A vitally important job, the lofty requirements for those studying to become surgeons can be daunting. Not everyone is cut out for this arduous path, which includes, on average, eight years of college following by many more years of intense work schedules in residency. And once in the field, surgeons face very stressful working conditions.
Few jobs are as stressful as commercial airline pilot, which also lands on our most overrated jobs report. Pilots also face a contracting job market as the industry weathers consolidation, and flying a commuter puddle jumper to earn tenure isn't the glamorous career many of us would envision.
While our overrated and underrated distinction is subjective, we craft our rankings by using data from the CareerCast 2013 Jobs Rated report, including recent social and economical impact on specific industries, as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The same criteria is used when formulating the most underrated jobs rankings.
1. Advertising Account Executive
Turnover resulting from the pressure of high expectations and the competitive nature of the industry makes advertising agency executive one of the most stressful jobs available. Hiring outlook for the field is also low.