Poll Ranks Prestigious Jobs & The Real News Might Be What Rated Below Owning Your Own Business

Most parents want their kids to ‘grow up and get themselves a good job,’ but what do Americans consider a good job? We now have a pretty clear idea, thanks to a Harris Poll released this year, and there’s positive news for small business owners.

Two-thirds of American adults consider being an entrepreneur a prestigious career, and nearly 75 percent said they’d encourage a child to pursue it.

Entrepreneur ranked 12th on the list of prestigious careers in the poll, which queried more than 2,200 Americans about 30 different jobs. It closely outranked athlete, lawyer, musician and – notably – business executive.

Another surprise: respondents in all age groups, from Millennials to “Matures” (seniors over 70), viewed entrepreneurs in an equally positive light. That wasn’t the case for many professions on the list. Seventy-one percent of Millennials, for example, thought lawyer was a prestigious job, but that percentage fell to the mid-fifties for Baby Boomers and Matures. Video game designers and actors saw a similar decline in prestige as respondents got older, but clergy members and police officers were more prestigious in the eyes of older generations.

Doctors topped the list with 90 percent of people surveyed calling them prestigious. They were followed by scientists and firefighters.

The job rated the least prestigious: public relations consultant. Just 31 percent of respondents said it was a prestigious career choice. It narrowly edged out real estate broker (32 percent) for the bottom slot.

The poll did not define prestigious. It merely gave the prompt, “Below is a list of occupations. For each how, if at all, prestigious do you find the occupation?” It then asked people to rate each career on a four-point scale from “not prestigious at all” to “has a great deal of prestige.” Most of the jobs Americans put at the top of the list require either a high level of education or a high level or public service, or – in a few cases – both.

The numbers indicate the percentage of Americans who said the job either “had prestige” or “had a great deal of prestige.”