According to Forbes magazine, CareerCast.com has published a list of the 10 most underrated jobs in the U.S. and the paralegal career is #1. The publication goes on to say that the job involves little contact with the public and doesn’t require employees to breathe in toxic fumes or lift loads of 50 lbs. or more. The average salary is $47,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That and the relatively low unemployment rate (approximately 4%), land paralegals in the number one spot on CareerCast.com’s list of Underrated Jobs in the U.S.
With unemployment persistently high and pressure on politicians to improve the jobs picture, Tony Lee, CareerCast’s publisher, says he and his team figured it was time to tap its vast data pool and release a list of jobs that may be unglamorous but that have better than average employment rates and incomes. While they don’t pay the six- or seven-figure compensation of hedge fund managers or heart surgeons, these underrated jobs allow workers to enjoy a decent standard of living and a relatively bright employment outlook.
One caveat about this list and every other “most this” or “most that” jobs list: While it does seem that Lee and his team make a serious effort to rate particular job categories, using extensive data over a long period of time, there is always a dollop of subjectivity and a measure of confusion in any job rating measure.
Second on the list: accountant, with an average income of $60,000 and an average three-year unemployment rate of 4.8%. Loan officer ranks third, with income of $55,000 and a three-year unemployment rate of 4.4%.
Don't get too riled up about the average salary listed. That figure is a national average which takes into account those paralegals earning $24k a year and those paralegals earning $100k a year. Also, you want to take into consideration three important factors related to salary averages: what city you are in; law practice specialty; whether you are in a major, mid-size or small firm. These factors have tremendous bearing on what you earn.
I'm not sure, however, if they are trying to say that paralegals are underrated because the field isn't that well known; doesn't appear glamorous or isn't something people automatically think about getting into. Readers: let me know your thoughts.