What are the Most Prestigious Jobs? – 2009 Survey


Every year at this time, The Harris Poll asks whether an occupation can be considered to have very great prestige or hardly any prestige at all. This year there are some changes as well as some stability in what occupations are considered prestigious and what ones are not.

These are some of the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive among 1,010 U.S. adults between July 8 and 13, 2008.

Most Prestigious Occupations

The occupations at the top of the list are:

 Firefighter (62% say “very great prestige”),

 Scientist (57%),

 Doctor (56%),

 Nurse (54%),

 Teacher (51%), and

 Military officer (51%).

Least Prestigious Occupations

Looking at the other side of the list, only 15% or fewer adults regard the following occupations as having very great prestige:

 Real estate agent/broker (5%),

 Accountant (11%),

 Stock broker (13%),

 Actor (15%).

Substantial majorities of adults (from 65% to 80%) believe that these occupations have “hardly any” or only “some” prestige. Additionally, several occupations are regarded as “very prestigious” by more people this year than they were last year:

 Business executive, up six points to 23%,

 Military office, up five points to 51%, and

 Firefighter, up five points to 62%.

However, even with this improvement, business executives are still near the bottom of the list with 62% of Americans saying they have only some prestige or hardly any prestige at all. Two occupations lost four or more points since last year:

 Farmers, down five points to 36%,

 Accountant, down four points to 11%.

Prestigious Jobs Chart 2009

Click picture to enlarge.

So what do you think? Did the survey get it right?

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