Work Life Balance Pivotal HR Solutions Blog

With Emphasis on Work-Life Balance and Low Stress — the Top 10 “Best Jobs” for 2020: Report

In 2020, the top ten “best jobs” — evaluated based on work-life balance to salary to stress — are:

1. Software developer
2. Dentist
3. Physician assistant
4. Orthodontist
5. Nurse practitioner
6. Statistician
7. Physician
8. Speech and language pathologist
9. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
10. Veterinarian


Work Llife Balance stress Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Commute times is a big factor leading to stress. The top ten jobs for 2020 are weighted on stress factors and life-work balance against income.


This review of 187 jobs — published by U.S. News and World Report — points to the key career-choice factor — low-stress work-life balance.

Although the data was compiled in the U.S., it should be mirrored in Canada where there are similar concerns. Although the list has only a few surprises, another finding is anything but a surprise: even the “best job” comes “stress.”

  • Do you need help recruiting candidates for high-stress positions? Are you looking for a position with the ideal life-work balance? In either case, Pivotal’s HR experts can help>>

Even though the evaluation criteria included stress, never-the-less these are still high-stress positions. The overall criteria for the evaluation were:

  • stress levels
  • work-life balance
  • salary.

Work-life balance is key on this list

For this review, stress is factored heavily. For example, even though orthodontists brings relatively high pay in the U.S. — $227,760 average — they do not have the high-stress levels experienced by others in this income range. They work highly scheduled hours with relatively few emergencies. This is one of the reasons it ranks number four on the list.


Work Life Balance Yin Yang Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Work-Life Balance is the key factor in a new report featuring the top 10 careers for 2020.


The list tries to achieve the “work-life” balance golden zones, with relatively low stress with high income. Veterinarians and Physicians are lower on the list because of higher relative stress. Software developers are at the highest rank, not only because of demand but due to lower stress as a ratio to income.

The golden zone can be hard to achieve, especially with longer commute times in stressful rush-hour. Jobs that involve partial home-working arrangements, or that require less commute time can factor higher.

Stress never goes away

Despite the weighting of this list, the report emphasized that there is always stress. Separately listed were “stress” jobs. Less than ten of the 187 positions reviewed reported “average” levels of stress:

  • Actuaries
  • Dentists
  • Mathematicians
  • Podiatrists
  • Optometrists
  • Political Scientists
  • Software Developers

In fact, according to the report

  • 40% found their job “extremely stressful”
  • 26% said they were often “burned out”
  • 29% were significantly stressed.


Work Life Balance Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Work-Life Balance is the key factor in a new report featuring the top 10 careers for 2020.


Problems in the workplace

Related to stress, the report found that the biggest issues in the workplace were health complaints. The bottom line is “balance” — since stress impacts health, and “financial difficulties” create stress.

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