Pay & Benefits

Report: Enlisted service member is the fourth-worst job in America

An annual worst-jobs report has ranked enlisted service member as the fourth-worst occupation in the country — a step down from last year.

CareerCast put enlisted troops ahead of only newspaper reporters, broadcasters and loggers in its 2017 list, which factors in salary, hours, stress, work environment and multiple other data sets.

Last year, the career site ranked enlisted personnel as fifth-worst, a position held in 2017 by pest control workers. Troops slid behind disc jockeys, who rose from fourth-worst in 2016 to the No. 6 spot in the countdown this year.

Thinking of going officer to improve your lot? CareerCast ranks "military general" as the 170th-best job among the 200 occupations listed, despite the attached median salary of more than $200,000. 

The financial figures may be subject to interpretation: The report put enlisted troops at a median salary of $27,936 in 2017, down from $45,374 last year. The only change to base pay during that period was a 2.1 percent raise signed into law in December, although other factors such as overall time in service may have affected the median salary to a small degree.

Beyond money, the likely driver for the low position is stress level: Enlisted troops were second in the website's 2016 list of most stressful jobs, just ahead of generals. Firefighters took top honors on that list, and ranked eighth overall on the 2017 worst-jobs list.

The survey ranked newspaper reporter as the worst job for the third straight year. Lumberjack held the title in 2014.

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