In some industries, the most important trait an employee can have is the desire for competition. There are many occupations in which people must possess an intense drive and determination in order to stay a step ahead of competitors. Fighting for that edge can be stressful, and it takes a certain kind of individual to do the job well.
With this in mind, CareerTrends found the 10 most competitive jobs in America. To do this, we used data from O*NET, an occupational database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. O*NET assigns scores in various categories for each occupation based on the results to survey questions sent out to workers in those occupations. To find the most competitive jobs, we used the scores from the following question: “To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?” The scores, based on a 1 to 5 scale, form each job’s Competitive Score. We also included each occupation’s job description, salary and employment figures using the most recent data (March 2016) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are eight occupations in the arts and entertainment field on the list, including graphic designers and music composers. Medicine and healthcare was the second-most represented field, with four occupations in the top 25.
Note: In the event of ties, the job with the highest employment was ranked higher on the list.
#10. Makeup Artists
Competitive Score: 4.50
Current employment: 3,060
Average annual salary: $66,560
Job description: Apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting and situation of their role.
#9. Real Estate Sales Agents
Competitive Score: 4.50
Current employment: 151,700
Average annual salary: $58,410
Job description: Rent, buy or sell property for clients. Perform duties, such as study property listings, interview prospective clients, accompany clients to property site, discuss conditions of sale and draw up real estate contracts.
#8. Music Composers
Competitive Score: 4.52
Current employment: 21,540
Average annual salary: $59,040
Job description: Write and transcribe musical scores.
#7. Investment Fund Managers
Competitive Score: 4.54
Current employment: 376,440
Average annual salary: $111,230
Job description: Plan, direct or coordinate investment strategy or operations for a large pool of liquid assets supplied by institutional investors or individual investors.
#6. Sound Engineering Technicians
Competitive Score: 4.55
Current employment: 13,840
Average annual salary: $63,340
Job description: Operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, mix or reproduce music, voices or sound effects in sporting arenas, theater productions, recording studios or movie and video productions.
Competitive Score: 4.64
Current employment: 50,070
Average annual salary: $40,280
Job description: Photograph people, landscapes, merchandise or other subjects, using digital or film cameras and equipment. May develop negatives or use computer software to produce finished images and prints.
#4. Securities Sales Agents
Competitive Score: 4.70
Current employment: 319,280
Average annual salary: $102,860
Job description: Buy and sell securities in investment and trading firms. Develop and implement financial plans for individuals, businesses and organizations.
Competitive Score: 4.76
Current employment: 11,710
Average annual salary: $80,490
Job description: Compete in athletic events.
#2. Creative Writers
Competitive Score: 4.78
Current employment: 43,380
Average annual salary: $69,130
Job description: Create original written works, such as scripts, essays, prose, poetry or song lyrics, for publication or performance.
Competitive Score: 4.84
Current employment: 5,130
Average annual salary: $51,560
Job description: Create new dance routines. Rehearse performance of routines. May direct and stage presentations.