What are the Best and Worst Entry Level Jobs in 2017?

CareersPersonal Finance
Posted By Terri Williams on May 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm
What are the Best and Worst Entry Level Jobs in 2017?

Realistically, most entry-level jobs won’t pay employees a ton of money their first year on the job, and they probably won’t be leading the company any time soon. But it’s still important to weigh employment options carefully before accepting a position.

WalletHub analyzed 109 entry-level jobs to determine which were the best and worst choices for workers recently entering the workforce. According to the final report, these are the top 10 entry-level jobs:

Rank Job Title Total Score
1 Engineer 1 75.08
2 Systems Engineer 1 74.89
3 Architect 1 70.46
4 Web Applications Developer 1 68.11
5 Electrical Engineer 1 67.28
6 Safety Representative 1 67.11
7 Training Specialist 1 66.76
8 Software Engineer 1 66.45
9 Electronics Engineer 1 65.74
10 Chemical Engineer 1 65.11


While most of the jobs in the top 10 are engineering- or tech-related, several other types of jobs ranked highly. The top 40 jobs include such titles as Attorney 1, Tax Attorney1, Financial Planner 1, Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, Chemist 1, Interior Designer 1, and Employee Relations Specialist 1.

At the other end of the spectrum, the worst entry-level jobs are as follows:

Rank Job Title Total Score
109 Welder 1 26.31
108 Floor Assembler 1 30.43
107 Boilermaker 1 30.64
106 Plumber 1 32.1
105 Tool and Die Maker 1 32.68
104 Automotive Mechanic 1 34.43
103 Aircraft Painter 1 35.13
102 Carpenter 1 35.23
101 Machinist 1 35.78
100 Sheetmetal Mechanic 1 37.65


While Tax Attorney 1 ranks in the upper half, Tax Accountant 1 is one of the worst entry level jobs. In fact, several financial jobs were in the bottom 40, including Cost Accountant 1, Financial Reporting Accountant 1, Teller 1, Consumer Loan Servicing Clerk 1, and Payroll Clerk.

Also, while Writer 1-Web is one of the better jobs, Technical Writer 1 is one of the worst jobs.  And while many engineering jobs are on the top half, engineering technicians (civil engineering tech, electrical engineering tech, and electronics engineering tech) are in the bottom 35 jobs.

Other interesting tidbits from the WalletHub report:

  • Tax attorneys have the highest median starting salary, $93,899, which is 5.8 times higher than that of a college teaching assistant, the job with the lowest at $16,077.
  • Employee-relations specialists have the highest income growth potential, 6.2, which is 3.4 times higher than that of a bank teller, the job with the lowest at 1.8.
  • Benefits administrators have the longest median tenure with their employers, 6.3 years, which is two times higher than that of a certified occupational therapy assistant, the job with the shortest at 3.1 years.
  • Certified occupational-therapy assistants have the highest projected job growth by 2024, 42.7 percent.
  • Although web-application developers and software engineers are among the 10 best entry-level jobs, computer operators have the grimmest job outlook, with 19 percent of jobs in the field projected to be cut by 2024.

What do the scores mean for entry-level jobs?

So how did WalletHub determine the best and worst entry-level jobs? Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for the company, tells GoodCall®, “We analyzed 109 entry-level jobs across three categories: immediate opportunity, growth potential, and job hazards.”  But it wasn’t as simple as it sounds. For example, Gonzalez says that immediate opportunity includes metrics for median starting salary, number of job openings, and unemployment rate.

Growth potential includes various factors, such as occupational viability score, projected job growth by 2024, income growth potential, typicality of on-the-job training, and occupational schedule flexibility.

And job hazards include fatal occupational injuries and typicality of working more than 40 hours a week.

Gonzalez warns that some jobs are likely to disappear in the near future. “Jobs like Life Insurance Underwriter and Boilermaker are most likely to be replaced by a computer within five years.” Some accounting and auditing jobs have a great risk of being automated.

The entry-level jobs with the fastest projected job growth by 2024 are Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant, Operations Research Analyst I, Web Applications Developer 1, Designer 1-Web, and Biomedical Engineer 1.

“Income growth potential is important when choosing any job, especially at the entry level,” Gonzalez says. “Currently, Consumer Loan Officer and Employee Relations Specialist have the highest income growth potential.”

However, for young adults choosing between a low-paying opportunity in their preferred industry versus another type of job with a higher starting salary, Gonzalez offers the following advice: “If you are looking to develop a career in a field of interest, then the experience, in most cases, is far more important than the salary,” she says. “However, if your goal is to start your professional life with a stable income that will allow you to pay off student loans, then a higher salary might outweigh industry options.”

Other considerations for entry-level jobs

When young workers are considering their employment options, salary and the opportunity to gain experience are typically the primary factors. However, Weslee M. Washington, managing director at Boaz Partners, an Atlanta-based recruitment firm, tells GoodCall® that job candidates need to consider the following 5 factors:

  • Training: What kind of investment is the company going to make in them?
  • Path for success: Does the employer have examples of where people go in the company or even after they leave the company?
  • Culture: What fits their personality? Do they like the people they meet?
  • Industry: Is it an attractive industry with growth potential? Remember VCRs? Neither does the rest of the world.
  • More entrepreneurial in spirit? What experience will you gain from the job that will develop you?

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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