The lumber industry and the software industry each play a critical role in the Pacific Northwest, anchored by giant corporations such as Weyerhaeuser and Microsoft. But when it comes to the best and worst professions in the country, these two core industries couldn’t be further apart.
According to a study by CareerCast.com, software engineers rank as having the best jobs with plenty of perks, low stress and a median income of $88,142. Not bad, especially for folks like 31-year-old Brandon Hilkert. The Wall Street Journal highlighted the software developer, who lives in West Chester Pennsylvania and works for Seattle social networking upstart Meeteor, as part of its feature story on the jobs report.
“The world is going digital, and software engineers who can help with that transformation are reaping the benefits. Their pay is great, hiring demand for their skills is through the roof, and working conditions have never been better,” according to the CareerCast report.
At the other end of the spectrum is the lumberjack, an age-old profession of the Northwest which includes plenty of risks, high unemployment and low pay with a median salary of just $32,114.
“Unemployment for Lumberjacks is very high, and the demand for their services is expected to continue to fall through 2016. And while working outside all day may seem like a great job perk, being a lumberjack not only is considered the worst job, but also one of the world’s most dangerous,” according to the report.
So, if you were just stating out, what would you do: Pick up a computer or a chainsaw?
Here’s one other thing: You might not want to pick up a pen. My old profession, newspaper reporter, also claimed one of the worst job spots. Others receiving that dubious honor included soldier, waiter, dishwasher and butcher.
“As the digital world continues to take over and provide on-demand information, the need for print newspapers and daily newscasts is diminishing. To be sure, both jobs once seemed glamorous, but on-the-job stress, declining job opportunities and income levels are what landed them on our Worst Jobs list,” the report says.
Here’s a look at the top 5 jobs. (Click on chart for the full list).