NU Online News Service, Jan. 5, 12:54 p.m. EST
Insurance actuaries have the nation's best jobs, according to the Careercast.com Web site that annually rates occupations based on hiring outlook, work environment and other factors.
Last year the site's JobsRated.com ranking had actuaries in second place, underwriters 22nd and agents in 96th place.
For 2010 underwriters slipped to 39 and agents to 103 among 200 jobs that are ranked. Tony Lee, the publisher of Careercast.com, said the primary reasons for rankings changes are recession-driven factors such as drops in salary levels and hiring outlooks, since other elements of jobs generally do not change.
Actuaries currently were found to have a very good hiring outlook. Careercast said that actuaries rank high because among rated occupations the job has the second lowest physical demands and 3rd lowest stress levels.
The researchers, it was explained, in making their rankings find careers likely to provide a positive experience for "a majority of employees, not just the uniquely talented."
Careercast said in any of its ranking criteria actuaries are no worse than 10th with the exception of median income where they are 22nd at $85,229. Average high-end income was put at $161,000, or 11th in the survey.
Underwriters' median was put at $57,186, and their hiring outlook was listed as poor. For insurance agents the hiring outlook was listed as good, but median income was at $45,338.
In compiling their rankings the researchers look at dozens of factors including the physical demands of a job, such as how much heavy lifting and stooping, work conditions including exposure to fumes and noise, degree of competitiveness, degree of hazards, contact with public, quotas, speed required, precision required and initiative required.
The actuaries' physical demands level was put at 3.97 in a range with scores that could go as high as 43.23. The stress was put at 20.187 compared with agents whose stress level was put at 63.322.