You probably never heard a mother brag, "My son, the biologist!" but maybe she should.
Job site CareerCast is out with its annual list of the most overrated and most underrated jobs for 2013, and as it turns out, biologist is one of the most underrated.
"These are jobs that most people look at and think 'eh,' when in fact they typically have a strong hiring outlook, rising salary, a fair amount of autonomy and the people who have them tend to really like them," said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.
Think: That guy with the pocket protector and calculator. You weren't nearly as dazzled by him as the stockbroker in the pin-striped suit. But he is totally in demand. Boom! Underrated.
This list is, for sure, more subjective than, for example, CareerCast's best and worst jobs. But the economic recovery has provided some objective criteria for the list, Lee said.
"As the economy slowly improves, that changes how various jobs end up getting ranked—their hiring outlook improves more than another and it might move up the list, or the average salary increased," Lee said.To come up with these lists, CareerCast takes a look at 200 jobs, using Labor Department and other statistics. On average, Lee said, the hiring outlook for most jobs is about 12 percent, meaning hiring is expected to increase by that much through 2020. For some of these underrated jobs, it's as high as 30 or 40 percent. What's particularly encouraging, he said, is that CareerCast has found more job openings for each one of the jobs on the list than they've seen in at least the last five years.
Read on to check out the most underrated jobs for 2013.
1. Computer systems analyst
Median salary: $79,680
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 22%
For the second straight year, the most underrated job is…computer-systems analyst.
These are the people who are managing a company's computer systems, making sure all the servers are working and that everything is up and running.
"As more and more companies use the Internet to do business through e-commerce, and frankly just the explosion of the Internet, the need for systems analysts has risen dramatically—and salaries have followed," Lee said.
"The perception of a computer-systems analyst is a nerd with a pocket protector but, in fact, these are the people who are going to be retiring on the beach," Lee said. "I hope they can surf!"
Median salary: $84,460
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 36%
"The baby boom generation is spending more money on their animals than ever before," Lee said. "Whoever heard of pet health insurance? Now it's a big thing. People treat their animals like children—and vets are right at the core of that," he said.
Plus, vets are getting a boost from the economic recovery and rebound in housing.
"If people don't have money to pay for their own health needs, they're not able to pay for their pet's health needs," Lee said. "An improving economy means people have more money to get a pet in te first place and then pay for their care," he said.
Vets have been consistently on the underrated list for the past few years, coming in at No. 3 last year. And, they have one of the best hiring outlooks on the list at 36 percent.
Median salary: $72,700
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 31%
Biologists have been in demand for several years now, with one of the strongest hiring outlooks on the list at 31 percent.
"They do everything from defense work, such as trying to figure out what the Syrians are doing, to drug and medical development," Lee said. "Biologists are at the fore of that work researching how to prevent disease."
Not only is demand high but supply is low.
"One of the big issues we have in this country is a lack of college graduates in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields," he said.
In fact, all of the top three most underrated jobs for 2013 share that, Lee said.
4. Market research analyst
Median salary: $60,300
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 41%
Market research analysts work for companies to determine what's going on in the market. They look at consumer demand and business demand. They took a hit during the recession, with many laid off. But now, demand is bouncing back.
"This is an area that as the economy improves, it's really going to benefit," Lee said. "The hiring outlook is huge. And the salary is also very healthy."
"It doesn't matter what type of company you are. If you're a widget company, you want to know what's the outlook for people buying widgets in the next year across the country and around the world," Lee said.
Median salary: $63,550
Hiring outlook (job growth through 2020): 16%
"The perception is, 'What a boring job!'" Lee said.
But accountants make the most underrated list every year.
First, they're very well paid. The hiring outlook is above average. And, if you've picked accounting, there's a good chance you love your job.
"They spend their day doing what they want to do, which is manipulating numbers," Lee said.
So, stop judging him by his pocket protector and calculator—this guy is underrated.
Click Here to see the full CNBC slideshow, The 12 Most Underrated Jobs of 2013.
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