The Most Popular Occupation: An In-Depth Analysis of Highly Sought-after Professions

Choose the occupation you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Nov 30, 2023 08:43)
Are you curious to find out which professions top the popularity charts? At StrawPoll, we've crafted a fascinating ranking of "What is the most popular occupation?" that will not only pique your interest but also allow you to have your say! Dive into a sea of diverse occupations and vote for your favorite, or champion a missing profession by suggesting it. By participating in this captivating poll, you'll be actively contributing to the ultimate ranking that will showcase the most admired and sought-after careers. So, what are you waiting for? Join thousands of participants in uncovering the most popular occupation and fuel some friendly debates with your friends and colleagues!

What Is the Most Popular Occupation?

  1. 1
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the most common occupation in the US with over 4.5 million people employed in this field. Retail salespersons work in various industries such as department stores, grocery stores, and car dealerships, among others.
    A Retail Salesperson is an individual who works in a retail environment, assisting customers with their purchasing needs. They provide product information, answer questions, and offer guidance to customers in order to make sales. Retail Salespersons are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction and generating revenue for the business.
    • Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent
    • Experience: Varies by employer; on-the-job training is typical
    • Key Skills: Customer service, sales, communication, product knowledge
    • Working Hours: Varies; may include evenings, weekends, and holidays
    • Physical Demands: Standing for long periods, lifting/moving merchandise
    Retail Salesperson in other rankings
  2. 2
    Cashiers are the second most popular occupation in the US, with over 3.5 million people employed in this field. They work in various establishments such as grocery stores, gas stations, and retail stores.
    A cashier is a professional responsible for handling customer transactions and providing excellent customer service. They typically work in various retail environments, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and department stores.
    • Job Duties: Processing customer transactions, handling cash and electronic payments, providing accurate change, balancing cash registers
    • Customer Service: Assisting customers, answering inquiries, resolving complaints, maintaining a friendly and welcoming demeanor
    • Product Knowledge: Knowing the store's merchandise, promotions, and policies to assist customers effectively
    • Basic Math Skills: Performing calculations accurately and efficiently, handling currency and coins
    • Multitasking: Managing multiple tasks simultaneously, such as handling transactions while providing customer service
  3. 3
    Office clerks are responsible for performing administrative tasks such as data entry, filing, answering phones, and organizing paperwork. This is a popular occupation with over 2 million people working in this field.
    An office clerk is a professional responsible for performing various administrative and clerical tasks in an office setting. They support the daily operations of the office by handling paperwork, organizing files, and assisting with general office duties.
    • Education: High school diploma or equivalent is typically required.
    • Computer Skills: Proficiency in basic computer applications like word processing, spreadsheet, and email software.
    • Typing Speed: Excellent typing skills and speed to efficiently produce documents.
    • Communication Skills: Strong verbal and written communication abilities to interact with colleagues and clients.
    • Organization: High level of organizational skills to maintain files, records, and office supplies.
  4. 4
    This occupation includes various roles such as cooks, chefs, and food servers. With over 3 million people working in this field, it is one of the most popular occupations in the US.
    Food Preparation and Serving is an occupation that involves the preparation and serving of food in various establishments such as restaurants, cafes, hotels, and catering services. It encompasses a range of tasks including ingredient preparation, cooking, plating, and food presentation. This occupation plays a crucial role in the hospitality industry, ensuring that customers are provided with high-quality and visually appealing food.
    • Physical Stamina: This occupation requires physical stamina to stand for long hours, lift heavy objects, and work in a fast-paced, demanding environment.
    • Attention to Detail: Food preparation and serving requires keen attention to detail to ensure ingredients are measured accurately, recipes are followed correctly, and food is presented beautifully.
    • Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are important for interacting with customers, taking orders, and coordinating with kitchen staff.
    • Knowledge of Food Safety: Food safety knowledge is necessary to handle and store food properly, follow hygiene practices, and prevent contamination or foodborne illnesses.
    • Culinary Skills: Proficiency in culinary skills such as cutting, cooking techniques, seasoning, and food plating is essential for creating delicious and visually appealing dishes.
  5. 5
    Nurses play a critical role in the healthcare industry, and with over 2.7 million people employed in this field, it is one of the most popular occupations in the US.
    A Registered Nurse (RN) is a healthcare professional who provides direct patient care in various healthcare settings. They work closely with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals to assess, diagnose, and plan appropriate treatments for individuals with a wide range of medical conditions. RNs play a crucial role in promoting health, preventing illnesses, and guiding patients towards recovery and wellness.
    • Education Required: Bachelor's degree in nursing (BScN) or a diploma in nursing from an approved nursing program
    • Licensing/Certification: Must be registered and licensed by the provincial or territorial regulatory body
    • Clinical Skills: Proficient in conducting physical assessments, administering medications, performing treatments, and managing medical equipment
    • Critical Thinking: Ability to analyze complex situations, prioritize care, and make accurate decisions in a fast-paced environment
    • Interpersonal Communication: Strong communication skills to effectively interact with patients, families, and healthcare team members
    Registered Nurse in other rankings
  6. 6
    This occupation involves interacting with customers to address their inquiries, complaints, and concerns. With over 2.5 million people employed in this field, it is one of the most popular occupations in the US.
    A Customer Service Representative is a professional who interacts with customers on behalf of an organization, providing assistance, solving inquiries, and ensuring customer satisfaction. They serve as the front-line representatives responsible for maintaining positive customer relationships.
    • Education Required: High school diploma or equivalent
    • Experience: Entry-level positions available, prior customer service experience is a plus
    • Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication abilities
    • Problem-Solving: Ability to identify and resolve customer issues effectively
    • Product Knowledge: Understanding of the products/services offered by the organization
    Customer Service Representative in other rankings
  7. 7
    Janitors are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of various establishments such as schools, hospitals, and offices. This occupation has over 2 million people employed in the US.
    A janitor is a person who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining buildings. Their main task is to ensure that the premises are kept clean, tidy, and in a sanitary condition. They often work in various settings such as schools, offices, hospitals, and residential buildings. Janitors may also be responsible for minor repairs and ensuring proper disposal of waste.
    • Job title: Janitor
    • Primary task: Cleaning and maintenance of buildings
    • Work settings: Schools, offices, hospitals, residential buildings
    • Responsibilities: Cleaning, tidying, maintaining sanitary conditions
    • Additional tasks: Minor repairs, waste disposal
  8. 8
    Elementary school teachers are responsible for educating young students in various subjects such as math, science, and language arts. With over 1.5 million people employed in this field, it is one of the most popular occupations in the US.
    An elementary school teacher is an educator who teaches students typically ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. They play a vital role in a child's education by instructing them in various subjects, fostering their cognitive and social development, and helping them prepare for higher grades. Elementary school teachers provide a safe and inclusive learning environment where students can actively engage in the learning process and develop essential skills across different academic disciplines.
    • Education Required: Bachelor's degree in education or related field
    • Certification: State-specific teaching license
    • Age Group: Kindergarten to fifth grade students
    • Teaching Subjects: Math, English, Science, Social studies, etc.
    • Curriculum Delivery: Plan and deliver lessons based on educational standards
  9. 9
    Truck Driver
    Veronica538 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Truck drivers transport goods and products across the country. With over 1.5 million people employed in this field, it is one of the most popular occupations in the US.
    A truck driver is a professional driver who operates large trucks and transports goods from one location to another. They are responsible for safely navigating the truck on highways and ensuring the timely delivery of goods. Truck drivers play a crucial role in the transportation industry and are in high demand worldwide.
    • License: Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
    • Vehicle Type: Large trucks, including tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, dump trucks, etc.
    • Driving Hours: Long hours, including overnight drives and extended periods away from home
    • Physical Demands: Physically demanding occupation, requiring sitting, standing, and heavy lifting
    • Driving Skills: Proficient in operating and maneuvering large vehicles
  10. 10
    Security Guard
    CEphoto, Uwe Aranas · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Security Guard

    William J. Burns
    Security guards are responsible for protecting people and property at various establishments such as banks, shopping malls, and office buildings. With over 1 million people employed in this field, it is one of the most popular occupations in the US.
    A security guard is a professional responsible for protecting properties, assets, individuals, or groups from potential threats or damages. Security guards often work in various settings, including residential buildings, commercial establishments, hospitals, schools, banks, government facilities, and more. They play a crucial role in maintaining security and ensuring a safe environment for people and property.
    • Training and Certification: Security guards must undergo specific training programs and obtain the necessary certifications to ensure they possess the required skills and knowledge for the job.
    • Surveillance: Security guards are trained to monitor, observe, and analyze activities in their assigned areas using surveillance systems, such as CCTV cameras or other monitoring devices.
    • Access Control: Security guards control access to restricted areas by enforcing entry and exit procedures, checking identification, and verifying credentials.
    • Emergency Response: Security guards are trained to respond to emergencies promptly, including alarms, medical incidents, or any other disturbances, following predefined protocols.
    • Patrolling: Security guards perform regular patrols to ensure all areas under their jurisdiction are secure and free from potential threats. This includes monitoring entrances, exits, and vulnerable points.

Missing your favorite occupation?


Ranking factors for popular occupation

  1. Job growth rate
    A high job growth rate indicates that the occupation is in high demand, attracting more people to join the field.
  2. Job satisfaction
    High levels of job satisfaction imply that people enjoy their work and are more likely to recommend their occupation to others.
  3. Job stability
    Occupations with high job stability and low unemployment rates are often considered popular because they offer a sense of security to employees.
  4. Average salary and benefits
    A well-paying occupation with good benefits is more appealing and can be considered more popular.
  5. Education and training requirements
    Occupations that do not require extensive education or training may be more popular due to lower barriers to entry.
  6. Work-life balance
    Occupations that offer a good work-life balance are likely to be more popular, as people value the ability to maintain a healthy personal life alongside their career.
  7. Potential for career advancement
    Occupations with clear pathways for career progression and opportunities for professional growth are likely to be more popular.
  8. Global demand
    Occupations that are in high demand globally can be considered more popular, as they offer better prospects for international job opportunities.
  9. Social impact and prestige
    Occupations that have a significant positive social impact or carry a certain level of prestige can also be considered popular.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular occupation. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or occupation is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 200 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each occupation once every 24 hours. The rank of each occupation is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular occupation

The question of what the most popular occupation is has been a topic of interest for many years. With countless job opportunities available in today's workforce, it can be challenging to determine which professions are the most sought after. However, over the years, certain occupations have consistently ranked high in terms of popularity. These include healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses, educators, computer and information technology experts, and business professionals. The demand for these jobs is often driven by factors such as job security, salary, and opportunities for growth and advancement. While the most popular occupation may vary from year to year, these professions have proven to be a reliable choice for many individuals looking to pursue a fulfilling career.

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