Not everyone is a people person, so we wanted to find the best jobs for people who prefer to avoid frequent communication.
To rank these jobs, we used data from O*NET Online, a U.S. Department of Labour database with information on hundreds of jobs.
O*NET gives scores between zero and 100 to occupations for a range of characteristics, based on surveys of employees in those jobs and input from professional job analysts.
We took O*NET’s measures of the importance of four communication skills: communicating with people inside the organisation, communicating with people outside the organisation, writing, and public speaking, and averaged together the scores for each job. Jobs were ranked better if that average score was lower.
We also factored in the 2013 median annual earnings for each job from the Bureau of Labour Statistics’ National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. By combining the earnings rank and communication scores, we were able to identify high-paying jobs that don’t require a lot of communication.
2013 median salary: $US53,310
What they do: Drive train locomotives
Why they're on the list: Locomotive engineers have very little need for communicating with people outside their organisations, and basically zero public speaking duties.
2013 median salary: $US54,780
What they do: Install bolts in the roofs of mines for structural support
Why they're on the list: While communicating with coworkers is somewhat important for roof bolters, they have almost no contact with people outside the mine, and a below average amount of writing required in the job.
2013 median salary: $US50,640
What they do: Use machines to load rock, ore, or coal onto conveyors or mine cars
Why they're on the list: Very few of the communications skills we considered are needed in this position. Writing in particular is much less important in this job than in most other occupations.
2013 median salary: $US53,020
What they do: Drive shuttle cars in mines to move things from the mine face to mine cars or conveyors
Why they're on the list: As with the other mining occupations, there is very little emphasis in this job on writing, public speaking, and communicating with people outside the company.
2013 median salary: $US78,640
What they do: Install, repair, and maintain elevators in buildings
Why they're on the list: The high median salary and minimal emphasis on public speaking combine to make this job appealing for people who are bad at this communication skill.
2013 median salary: $US101,410
What they do: Develop back-end software, like operating systems, compilers, and network software
Why they're on the list: Similar to database administrators, public speaking and communication with outsiders is not typically important for these developers.
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