The 'best job in America' pays $145,000 and offers a generous work-life balance – MarketWatch

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A six-figure salary and the option to work from home? It sounds too good to be true.
Job openings are up, while workers continue to quit. The government’s latest jobs report showed the U.S. economy gained 528,000 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.5% from 3.6% the previous month.
The careers website Glassdoor released its annual 50 Best Jobs in America report for 2022 a few months ago. With so many workers on the move amid the pandemic, it makes for particularly timely reading.
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Once again, tech workers came out on top, with enterprise architects No. 1 on Glassdoor’s list. They have a median base salary of $144,997 a year, 14,021 job openings and a satisfaction rating of 4.1 out of 5.0, according to the report.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made people reassess the role of work in their lives. Workers are burned out and looking for better benefits, shorter commutes, higher salaries and — critically — a more accommodating work-life balance.
If they spend eight hours a day at work, they don’t want to be unhappy and stressed out. Some workers, polls suggest, have even gotten fed up with how their employer treated them during the pandemic, and told their boss they’ve had enough.
“Wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, so the only way for most employees to either get a step up in salaries is either to find a new firm or have one foot out the door,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James, told Barron’s.
‘In the last year, job openings soared and record levels of worker turnover shifted the balance of power to the worker.’
Enterprise architects, who topped Glassdoor’s list, work in a company’s IT department designing hardware, software and networking applications, and work with stakeholders to help businesses achieve and maintain their digital strategy.
Fair warning. This job, along with many in IT, are not for the faint of heart. It takes years of training and work experience, often a Bachelor’s Degree in information technology and a Master’s Degree in enterprise architecture.
“The time you spend learning to become an enterprise architect depends on which education path you take,” according to StudyDataScience.org. “Note that it can take up to seven years of college if you choose to pursue a master’s degree.”
“This career requires extensive knowledge of technology. An enterprise architect has a leading role in any tech project,” it says. “Therefore, it is important to be prepared and have certification before pursuing a career in this field.”
In other words, not only do you require a commitment and aptitude for this kind of intense, data-heavy work, but high-level IT jobs such as this also involve many hours in front of a computer screen.
Another not insignificant consideration: StudyDataScience.org says a Master’s Professional Studies Program in Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation can cost as much as $11,093 per semester.
Fair warning. Enterprise architecture jobs, along with many in information technology, are not for the faint of heart.
“In the last year, job openings soared and record levels of worker turnover shifted the balance of power to the worker, with a large swath of employees and job-seekers fine-tuning a better work-life balance,” Glassdoor said in the report.
The job score is determined by weighing three factors: earning potential, overall job satisfaction rating and number of job openings. Some 90% of enterprise architects reported having access to work-from-home benefits.
Next on Glassdoor’s list was full stack engineers ($101,794 a year with 11,252 openings), who develop websites or applications, followed by data scientists ($120,000 a year with 10,071 openings), who collect and analyze data.
The top 10 jobs were all IT positions, but several non-tech jobs made it onto the top 50 list for the first time. As millions of people struggle to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, psychiatrists (No. 22) and psychologists (No. 34) made the list.
Jobs in human resources such as HR manager (No. 13), corporate recruiter (No. 17) and HR business partner (No. 39) also ranked among the “best jobs” during what some economists have called the “Great Resignation.”
Employees want to work from home 2.5 days a week on average, according to a 2021 Harvard Business Review survey.
“Jobs offering work from home as a benefit provide job seekers with greater opportunities and remove barriers such as location requirements, commuting costs, and ease child-care obligations,” the Glassdoor report added.
Database architect, Salesforce developer, solutions engineer, machine learning engineer, product marketing manager, and enterprise architect all received the highest shares of work-from-home benefit reports (a rate of 90% or over).
For a job to be considered, it must receive at least 100 salary reports and at least 100 job-satisfaction ratings shared by U.S.-based employees over the past year. A job title must also have had at least 2,000 job openings as of Dec. 12, 2021.
Though Labor Department data show that most workers are not working from home due to COVID-19, a 2021 Harvard Business Review survey of 5,000 people found that Americans want to work from home 2.5 days a week on average.
“Our survey data show that people of color and highly educated women with young children place especially high value on the ability to work from home part of the week,” according to Harvard Business Review’s analysis.
“A ban on working from home risks a rush to the exit by these employees,” it added. “That would exacerbate an already pressing problem in many organizations that struggle to hire and retain talented women and minority managers.”
It’s a good time to look for work. Looking at the overall economy, businesses have hiring at a furious rate, despite the omicron variant and signs of economic weakness elsewhere.  
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Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s Managing Editor-Personal Finance and The Moneyist columnist. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.
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