The 10 Most Competitive Jobs in America

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AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis
April 15, 2024 at 10:45PM UTC
The job market can be competitive, especially for high-paying jobs with companies that offer attractive benefits. Simply, some jobs are harder to score than others no matter what your experience is.
Competition for a particular job field is created when there are more job seekers than there are job openings. More Americans are actively seeking jobs, which explains an incremental increase in unemployment even despite an evident increase in hiring, according to Career Cast. Competition for some jobs is higher than others — particularly those with more attractive earning potential and benefits.
Each of the following jobs would typically pay you six figures... if you can beat out the several hundreds of other candidates.

1. Creative Manager

The most competitive job in the country, according to Glassdoor, is a creative manager. Either in-house or for via a design agency, creative managers oversee the creative output and enrich the visual identity of a company. Their median base salary is $12,000 and there are 1,243 job openings.

2. Goldman Sachs Worker

During a 2016 presentation, Goldman Sachs reported that roughly only three percent of applicants, or 9,700 out of the 313,000 who'd applied, secured a position the year prior. And that number includes summer internships. Talk about competitive. 

3. NAVY Seal

To become a candidate for Navy SEAL training, you have to beat out a ton of competition by passing rigorous tests. The Navy recruits about 40,000 people each year, almost half of whom express an interest in becoming a SEAL. Most of those recruits don't meet the qualifications — in fact, only about six percent do, according to Each year, only one in four complete training.

4. Supply Chain Manager

A supply chain manager earns around $102,000 for saving a company as much money as possible by streamlining logistics and discovering ways to increase efficiency and cost-effective measures. There are 1,668 job openings, according to Glassdoor.

5. CIA Clandestine Service Member

Not just anyone can become a member of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). PayScale reports that the average salary for the CIA agent that is decided by the federal government is $81,623 yearly, but only about six percent of those interested get the green light.

6. Buyer

A buyer earns about $104,000. There are 1,205 job openings for the role that entails negotiating and building strong relationships with trusted suppliers. 

7. Secret Service Worker

The Secret Service found itself sorting through an avalanche of applications that had followed each job posting in 2016 when it saw 27,000 potential candidates. From that pool, the agency offered jobs to just only about 300 agent candidates, according to USA Today.

8. Astronaut

Astronauts command, pilot or operate spacecrafts to uncover the universe, but the chances of becoming one are about 12,100,000 to one, according to College Times. NASA hires only about a dozen astronauts each year, and even potential candidates don't have a chance until they've years of experience under their belts. The typical candidate with NASA enters the company at about 36 years old.

9. Professional Athlete

Professional athletes may play for the NFL, NHL, NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS, and most of them dedicate their lives to their sport. But the chances of becoming a professional athlete are about 24,550 to one, according to College Times. In fact, according to the BLS, there are only about 9,380 professional athletes out there total. 

10. Patent Attorney

A patent attorney makes about $150,000. There are only about 1,125 job openings for the role, which entails an in-depth knowledge of intellectual property law and patents.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at by night.

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