What's the Most Unique Job in Your State?

cask masterToday’s guest post is submitted by our board member John Hollon, VP for Editorial, ERE Media.   Years ago I was running a recruitment outsourcing practice for BrassRing.  We had to find a lot of unique candidates for our clients.  

One of the stranger jobs we needed to source was a whiskey cask master. What do you think about the data below?  What’s the strangest job you’ve ever heard of? Did the research miss any particularly unique jobs that are representative of your state?

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but when I think of Massachusetts, I don’t immediately think of psychiatric technicians.

By the same token, when someone mentions jobs in Maryland, I don’t immediately focus on streetcar and subway operators either.

These two little nuggets are from a report put together by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International  on the occupation that is the most unique to each state, compiled through 2013. It’s an interesting report, although you’ll find that most of the jobs they identify for specific states aren’t all that surprising.

For example:

** The most unique occupation in California is “actor.” (Hollywood has a little to do with that, I would think.)

** Montana’s unique occupation is “forest technicians & conservation technicians,” (not a big surprise) and in Nevada it’s  “gaming supervisors” (that’s not a shock, either).

** In Texas it is “petroleum engineer,” and Hawaii is identified for “tour guides & escorts.”

But for all the obvious occupations that seem to naturally go with a state, there are also some head scratchers, such as:

** Alabama’s unique occupation is “tire builder,”  while in Illinois it is “correspondence clerk.”

** In Pennsylvania it is “survey researchers,” and Vermont is identified for “highway maintenance workers” rather than something like “syrup gathers.”

But what is also surprising about this list is median hourly earnings it gives for each state’s unique occupation.

Texas has the highest wage of $60.70 per hour for petroleum engineers, followed by the District of Columbia (yes, I know it is not a state but it’s on the list) at $55.64 for “political scientists.”

On the low end are “food processors” in Arkansas at $10.59, “textile winding, twisting, & drawing out machine setters, operators, & tenders” in North Carolina at $11.12, and “umpires, referees, and other sports officials” in Kansas at $11.16.

That’s more than a $50 per hour wage gap between the unique occupations in Texas and Arkansas, which shows again that there is a lot more money in oil than in processing food, despite that fact that you can’t get much nourishment out of a barrel of oil.

“Many of the most concentrated jobs represent well-known, longstanding regional industries, while others may come as a genuine surprise,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, referring to the study. ”They are rarely among the largest occupations in a state, but are often the most identifiable.”

That’s true enough, and if you scan the list ling enough you’ll find something else: this list of “unique” state jobs tells us a lot about the nature of America’s diverse economy and why, despite recessions and economic setbacks, it’s hard to keep us – and our economy — down for too long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “What's the Most Unique Job in Your State?

  1. John, the thing that always strikes me is how many kinds of very specific jobs exist. For example at HR.com we had someone responsible for managing the email lists; that’s a job she never went to school for; and I’ll bet that in a different company the work of the “same” job might be quite different.

    So now that you’ve got me thinking, I realize that my view of the world is that there are millions and millions of odd and unique jobs; and that these are more important (at least to me) than standard jobs like “cashier”.

    From an HR perspective it just a mindset that we have very few people or jobs that can be considered a commodity where we can swap out one person and swap in an identical replacement. We still need to act as if there are meaningful categories but most job titles lump together unlike individuals doing unlike work.

  2. I’m always fascinated by the range and creativity of job titles out there. I think it’s one reason I like Mike Rowe’s new show on CNN “Someone’s Gotta Do It.”

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