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Unrespected Careers: Real Estate Brokers, Bankers, Accountants, etc.

This article was written by in Career and Work. 12 comments.


A co-worker of mine has had an awful time dealing with her real estate agent. It’s not my story to tell, so I won’t, but her experience is helping to turn me off from dealing with real estate agents at any point in the future. They’re not all the same; many of my close friends have relatives involved in the industry, so I am not quick to judge. On the other hand, a recent survey by Harris Interactive has identified real estate agents as participants in the least prestigious career.

Some of the careers on this list also happen to be some of the most lucrative. Are the survey respondents just jealous of others’ supposed financial success, or are these careers really for bottom-scrapers?

# Real-estate agent/broker
# Actor
# Banker
# Accountant
# Entertainer
# Stockbroker
# Journalist
# Union leader
# Business executive
# Athlete

Perhaps the biggest factor isn’t just the financial impressions of these careers. I say “impressions” because while a few actors, entertainers, and athletes earn millions, and this is often reported in the media, the vast majority of those who pursue careers in arts, entertainment, and sports don’t amass fortunes. But for those who do live a lavish lifestyle, public perception may simply be that they don’t deserve that money. What other reason could these professions be on a list of least prestigious careers?

Only about 500 adults in the United States were surveyed about these professions, and there were only 23 types of careers included for potential rating. Perhaps that’s not enough to get a clear picture of what the country truly perceives about the prestige of various professionals.

Firefighters, Scientists And Teachers Top List As “Most Prestigious Occupations,” According To Latest Harris Poll [Harris Interactive]
The Most (and Least) Prestigious Careers [US News & World Report]

Updated June 23, 2014 and originally published August 14, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Toby

I can see the negative view of Real-Estate Agents/Brokers. Afterall, a lot of noobs got into the business over the last decade to “cash in” and they:

A) Didn’t know what they were doing.
B) Didn’t have good customer service skills.
C) Were in it for the money.

I could go on. A lot of them ended up hurting more than helping and gave a bad name to real “in-it-before-1995″ Agents/Brokers. But that’s why I interviewed several agents before deciding who to go with. I’m happy to say that my experience with my RE agent was wonderful!

As far as some of the other professions on the list, it is absolutely jealousy.

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avatar shawna

Interesting. I’d put “car salesmen” at the top of a list like that.

I agree with Toby, it looks like this is mostly a jealousy list.

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avatar cindy

I am surprised that used car salesmen is not on here. I think a lot of it is also the media coverage and mainstream films where they tend to use these professions as someone who is greedy and evil.

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avatar David Mackey

I’d have to say that 25 is not enough categories to get a good spread. I’d also agree with Shawna and Cindy about car salespeople. Additionally, I have to say about all these (including car sales) that while at some point it might have been out of jealousy to their financial position – now I think it is more inherited. We have been trained to think of certain professions as employing people who are “out to get us.”

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avatar dong

I think it’s mix of jealousy, disdain, and pity. I don’t think most people are envious of accountant, more likely pitied.

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avatar Neely O'Hara

This is a ridiculous list that revealse *something* about how Americans are responding in an unemotional and uninformed way.

Business executive? What in tarnation does that mean? And why should a “business executive” not be respected? The answer, of course, is because uninformed and over-emotional respondents think, “Enron!! Shriek!! All business executives are unethical!! Shriek!!”

Sounds like people with a high-school education answered this survey…

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