What do lawyers, dental assistants and members of the clergy have in common?
Over the past three decades, their salaries have beaten inflation—and then some, CNN Money reports.
In a post-recession climate where Americans’ wages have remained largely stagnant, these 10 professions have boasted consistent, substantial raises. Is yours on the list?
The constant and fast-paced growth of the medical field; the fact that demand for medical care exceeds supply; and the continual need for new skills have fueled pay for both doctors and pharmacists.
Wages for physicians have increased 276% over the past 30 years, more than double the growth rate of inflation during that time period (131%). Meanwhile, the salary of the average pharmacist grew from $26,624 in 1983 to $97,604 in 2012, dwarfing the increase in pay for U.S. jobs on the whole. The graying of the American population, as well as the availability of more complex medications, has put these professionals in high demand.
Increases in the complexities of business regulations have been a boon for lawyers—it seemed as though every corporation needed strong counsel. This led to nearly unchecked growth in lawyers’ salaries, which have increased 205% since 1983.
The most recent recession, however, has dampened the financial picture for lawyers. A glut of law school grads, combined with outsourcing, the computerization of basic tasks and a decrease in demand have kept wages relatively flat for the past few years.
In one of the more unexpected professions on the list, members of the cloth have enjoyed pay raises that have outpaced inflation for the past few decades.
The advent of well-funded megachurches, as well as the dwindling numbers of clergy across all religions, may account for the boost in pay. Additionally, because many clergy members are highly educated, their salaries may be rising to help cover the skyrocketing cost of higher education.
Compared with 30 years ago, dental assistants now tackle duties, such as making molds of your teeth or putting in temporary fillings, that were largely the purview of dentists. The rise of chain dental offices, which hire more dental assistants, has also driven up demand for these workers—as has the public’s desire for healthier teeth.
Rounding out the top 10 jobs with the highest pay raises: Computer programmers, registered nurses, hotel clerks, firefighters and accountants.
The Jobs Being Left Behind
The careers least likely to see wage growth, according to CNN Money, were in fields that were more likely to become automated, didn’t require new skills or experienced slow growth. Among those workers with sharply shrinking paychecks? Butchers, factory workers and bakers.
How does your profession compare with careers on this list?