With occupational average IQ estimates constructed from median income and, separately, from wordsum scores, the question of which occupations garner earnings higher than the IQ of their practitioners would predict, and which occupations bring in less than IQ would predict, naturally arises. The following table ranks occupations by the income premium they enjoy relative to the average IQ (via wordsum scores) of their practitioners. That is, it is a crude measure of how overpaid (positive) or underpaid (negative) they are relative to their converted IQ averages. The value displayed is simply the difference between the median income-derived IQ estimates and the wordsum-derived IQ estimates used in the preceding two posts. Occupations included have a minimal sample size of ten:
|3. Commercial airline pilot||19.3|
|9. Telephone installer and repairer||9.6|
|10. Sheet metal worker||9.0|
|11. Civil engineer||8.2|
|13. Electrical engineer||7.3|
|14. Forklift operator||7.0|
|16. Aircraft mechanic||6.2|
|17. Mechanical engineer||6.1|
|18. Computer programmer||6.0|
|19. Truck driver||5.7|
|21. Tool-and-die maker||4.7|
|24. Physical therapist||4.0|
|25. Automobile mechanic||3.4|
|26. Mail carrier||3.0|
|27. Dental hygienist||2.9|
|29. Construction worker||2.5|
|31. Registered nurse||2.3|
|34. Computer systems analyst||1.3|
|35. Engineering technician||0.8|
|37. Sales representative||0.2|
|38. Carpet and tile installer||0.0|
|39. Bus driver||(0.1)|
|40. Licensed practical nurse||(0.4)|
|41. Furniture upholsterer||(0.9)|
|44. Police officer||(1.6)|
|47. Taxi driver||(4.4)|
|48. Insurance agent||(4.5)|
|49. Security guard||(4.7)|
|50. Telephone operator||(5.5)|
|55. Child care worker||(7.2)|
|56. Bank teller||(7.5)|
|58. Social worker||(8.0)|
|59. Real estate agent||(8.6)|
|60. Artist (fine art)||(8.6)|
|66. Retail salesman||(10.3)|
Advanced medical fields populate the top of the list, an outcome that is not surprising given the amount of time and effort that must be expended by those entering these fields before they are able to begin practicing professionally. The situation is similar for pilots and attorneys. Other occupations near the top of the list, such as butcher, roofer, and sheet metal worker get there due to the physical demands and generally undesirable working conditions they entail.
At the other end are those who make their livings by way of what they write, something bloggers are certainly able to appreciate!
Some occupations in which compensation might initially appear to be low relative to the cognitive abilities of those working in them are influenced by other factors. In the case of teachers, this includes working around 60 fewer days than people in jobs with conventional schedules do. Additionally, teachers enjoy extremely high job security.
If any true average IQ is going to be inflated by measuring it using a vocabulary test like the wordsum, it is going to be for librarians. Still, I suspect librarians tend to be introverted types for which gregariousness is not usually a personality trait that describes them, and their earnings suffer for it.
Finally, who knew economists were overpaid?!