Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Top- and Bottom-Paying Jobs

There's an interesting article this morning on CNNMoney.com: Top-Paying Jobs. It lists, by salary, the top 10 high-paying jobs in today's economy, and the list is interesting.

You may (or may not) be surprised to know - given the atmospherics of the ongoing national spasm about health care - that the top four jobs on the list are all in the medical profession: Anesthesiologist (median salary $292,000); Obstetrician/Gynecologist (median salary $222,000); Psychiatrist (median salary $177,000); and Nurse Anesthetist (median salary $157,000). Attorneys/lawyers - specifically, those who handle the huge corporate accounts and major litigation cases - come in at ninth place, with a median salary of $115,000 (and you could argue that they are part of the medical profession as well, based on their role in giant malpractice suits).

Now, I do not begrudge doctors and nurses the large salaries they earn. They spend many very expensive years learning arcane arts and sciences that enable them to keep the rest of us healthy, start their careers many hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. We willingly place our lives in their hands, trusting in their mastery of the skills they have learned. There are, of course, poor doctors just as there are venal, bottom-dwelling lawyers, but - all things considered - I'll trust a doctor over a lawyer.

On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics can provide you the "top" ten low-paying jobs. According to this article from January of this year, of the top ten low-paying jobs, seven (including the bottom six) are in the food-service industry. "Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food Workers" fare the worst, with a median salary of $15,930; at the high end (relatively speaking) are "Waiters and Waitresses," at $17,190. The only non-food service industry jobs in the bottom ten are "Gaming Dealers" and "Shampooers" (in seventh and eighth place); "Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers" edge out the waiters and waitresses, earning a median salary of $17,500 to take the tenth spot from the bottom.

Ouch.

I guess what this explains why the people at the bottom have a hard time affording the services of those at the top. Food for thought.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

7 comments:

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Put me in that bottom list too.

KKTSews said...

My sister (an OB/GYN) has said many times that she wished government officials were paid more, and doesn't begrudge bonuses etc to those folks. Her reasoning is not unlike yours with docs--they have our lives in their hands. Maybe not directly, but you "don't want the idiots running our economy".
This market logic was completely turned on its head with all the crazy Wall Street bonuses that are not tied to performance.
Let's face it, none of the bottom-dweller salaries require education or generaly impact lots of lives in a substantive way. Makes sense they don't get paid more.

Mike said...

If you're in a job you like, sometimes the pay is secondary.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - sorry 'bout that...

Katherine - I'm not implying that it's somehow not fair for those with more responsibility and training to be paid more...only that it's too bad that, in the case particularly of health care, those at the lower end of the scale suffer relative to those above.

Mike - why can't I get paid well for a job I like? I'm still waiting for someone to offer me a princely salary for blogging on board a cruise ship while drinking gin and tonic.

Jay said...

I would like to get a job where all I have to do is move to Vegas and gamble, watch sports, movies, tv shows, drink and read good books and get paid a cardiovascular surgeon's salary for it. Is that too much to ask?

Alex said...

Corollary: I'd be irked if I saw a doctor/OB/anes skimping on the tip.

Padmanaban said...

High paying jobs are most important in the current economic situation. Most of the companies are developing in India and there are lots of job openings in various indian cities, which provides high salary.