15 High-Paying Jobs Nobody Wants Anymore

Some jobs still have a difficult time attracting workers even though they offer good pay.

bored young woman dressed in shirt sitting at her workplace
Updated May 28, 2024
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Since 2021, Americans have been quitting their jobs and moving on to new gigs as part of the Great Resignation. This has slowed down a lot in line with the economy but it continues for less traditional jobs.

Some workers change for better benefits such as retirement plans, health insurance, or the ability to work from home. Others have been able to make more money by jumping into better-paying positions.

But there are still some high-paying jobs that workers would rather skip. Following are positions that typically pay well but still don’t have many takers.

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Truck driver

Robert Kneschke/Adobe truck driver climbs into his truck with a delivery

The U.S. is facing a truck driver shortage even though the pay in this job can top $100,000 and it doesn't require you to be chained to a desk all day.

The hourly rate or yearly salary may appeal to potential workers, but the long hours and time away from home can be major factors in keeping potential new workers off the road.

Oil rig worker

Алексей Закиров/Adobe offshore oil rig worker prepare tool and equipment

Oil rig workers help keep oil flowing to refineries. Managers in these jobs can make six figures.

But it’s a dirty job — especially when you start — with long hours and good stretches of time away from home. Those factors may turn off some people despite the potentially high salary.

Gastroenterologist

Peakstock/Adobe  anatomical model of pancreas on doctor's table

Even doctors have shortages. For example, experts are worried about a shortage of gastroenterologists. Although the position pays well, perhaps it lacks the glamor of being a pediatrician or cardiologist.

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Crab fisher

flyingrussian/Adobe crab fishing in dangerous conditions

While the crabbing season may be short, it can also be quite rewarding during a good fishing season. Crab boat captains can make $200,000, for example.

However, crab fishers face long hours in dangerous conditions, and spend good stretches of time away from home on the high seas. A bad season can mean grueling work for a mediocre reward.

Urine farmer

romankosolapov/Adobe hunter with shotgun at beautiful sunset

Yes, urine farming is an actual job. Urine farmers collect undiluted specimens from animals like deer and sell the liquid gold to hunters, who will use it during hunting season as a lure.

The job can pay upward of $75,000, but how many are willing to do it?

Embalmer

buritora/Adobe female mortician

It takes some dedication to properly and respectfully treat a person who has died. Embalmers have to deal with dead bodies on a regular basis and handle potentially toxic embalming fluids.

But those who are willing to take on the task can earn good compensation, with some at the top of the pay scale earning around $80,000.

Bovine semen collector

MJ Fotografie/Adobe cattle livestock calf portrait of rural life

Cattle production relies on the insemination of cows to produce calves.

One of the more efficient ways to do this is through artificial insemination, but that requires collecting bovine semen to sell to cattle ranchers and other farmers.

It may be an odd job, but the product collected is in demand, which could earn you extra cash to the tune of around $55,000.

Hazardous material remover

Prostock-studio/Adobe workers in hazmat suits disinfecting indoor accommodation

Hazardous material can be dangerous to handle, which is why many people are unwilling to take on the task.

You also need training to understand proper techniques for handling different materials, as well as the safety measures necessary to work in the profession. Still, management positions can pay well over six figures.

Veterinarian

StockPhotoPro/ADOBE veterinarian examining a cat

Not all veterinarian work involves playing with puppies and kittens. Veterinarians often work long hours and may face additional hazards, such as scratchy cats or dogs that bite.

Perhaps those factors are contributing to an ongoing shortage in this profession.

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Head lice technician

ViDi Studio/Adobe puzzled young woman

If you or your kids contract lice, one of the first people to call is a head lice technician. This type of professional can properly clean the scalp of someone with lice and rid your home of lice remnants.

But it’s not a very appealing job, despite a salary that can climb to $50,000.

Garbage collector

Kadmy/Adobe urban recycling waste and garbage services

Garbage collection is a job that keeps our society running. Pay varies, but in some places can top out at $100,000 or more.

Unfortunately, it also means working with trash every day, and that may turn off potential workers. Currently, many parts of the U.S. are facing shortages of these workers.

Crime scene cleaner

One Dragon/Adobe crime scene cleaners

Television shows might make crime scene investigators look cool. But in real life, someone has to clean up scenes where crimes have taken place.

That could include working with bodily fluids and biohazardous substances. This job often pays modestly, but some people make very good money doing it.

Elevator repair

Kadmy/Adobe lift machinist repairing elevator in lift shaft

Working on or repairing an elevator can be risky, but elevator repair technicians are in high demand compared to the number of workers in the field. That means you can make $100,000 or more.

Portable toilet cleaner

PaulPaladin/Adobe transportable public street toilet

Portable toilets are great for large outdoor events or construction sites. But someone has to clean these toilets on site as well as transport them to where they’re needed.

It’s a dirty job that often pays modestly, but some can earn $50,000 or more.

Plumber

Kurhan/Adobe plumber

Plumbers, like other trades, can earn a good hourly rate without a college degree. They also can receive apprenticeships or get certifications to help them advance in the field.

But plumbers might also have to deal with dirty and unsanitary conditions. And while they can make extra cash working overtime for emergencies, it could also mean being on-call at odd times or during holidays.

Bottom line

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe car mechanic working at automotive service center

Working at a job simply to make money is not always easy. Even high-paying roles have aspects that some workers prefer to avoid, regardless of how much money the position pays.

Fortunately, there are other ways to make more money if you want to enjoy work more. Instead of taking a job purely for the money, you can develop new sources of additional income, such as a part-time job or side hustle.

That way, you get ahead financially without decreasing your job satisfaction.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.