Enjoy Working Alone? These Jobs Require the Least Interaction With Others

In recent years, some employers have taken to using personality tests in the hiring process or to learn more about the dynamics within a team. One of the main results of personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs, is indicating whether an individual leans more toward introversion or extroversion. According to psychologist Carl Jung, who first articulated the concepts of introversion and extroversion, introverts feel most energized by themselves and their own thoughts. By contrast, extroverts feel most energized when they interact with other people. Most people identify as being somewhere in the middle, rather than at one of the two extremes.

In the workplace, many people feel pressure to be extroverted in order to do well in their careers. However, extroversion might not be as important to success as one might think. A closer look at occupational data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that only 41 percent of jobs in the country require frequent or constant communication. The remaining 59 percent of jobs require occasional communication or less.

In fact, for 12.9 percent of jobs, communicating verbally is not required at all. The great news for introverts is that a wide variety of careers are available with varying degrees of interaction required. Especially in today’s labor market, which favors jobseekers, it is possible to find a path that best suits an individual’s needs.

To find which jobs require the least amount of interaction with others, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey, Employment Projections Survey, and Occupational Employment Statistics. To compute the final ranking, Construction Coverage calculated the proportion of jobs requiring no communication, seldom communication, or occasional communication within each occupation type.

The jobs requiring the least interaction with others are extremely diverse. They include occupations in financial services, computer science, and trucking. These jobs also have a wide range in salary—from $24,700 annually for driver/sales workers to $86,640 per year for civil engineers. For reference, the median annual wage for American workers in 2018 was $38,250.

In addition to salary, people interested in one of these jobs should pay close attention to the 2016-2026 projected employment growth as it compares to the national average of 7.4 percent. Projected employment growth among these occupations varies from a high of 11.1 percent to a low of -10.7 percent. Additionally, while several of these occupations require a college degree, most only need a high school diploma and some on-the-job training.

Here are the top 15 jobs that lend themselves well to independent workers:

The 15 Most Independent Occupations

Accountant G1GF4K

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

15. Cost Estimators

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 67.8%
  • Median annual wage: $64,040
  • Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected employment growth: 10.5%
  • Total employment: 211,600

Cost estimators analyze data to determine total costs necessary to complete a project. These cost estimates take into consideration factors such as labor, equipment, insurance, taxes, and materials. Cost estimators often work in the architecture, engineering, construction, or manufacturing industry. The projected employment growth of 10.5 percent is higher than the overall average employment growth rate.

Software Developer MF0C6X

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

14. Computer Programmers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 68.1%
  • Median annual wage: $84,280
  • Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected employment growth: -7.2%
  • Total employment: 230,470

Whereas software developers are the “creative minds” behind computer programs and applications, computer programmers help turn the programs designed by software developers into working code that a computer can follow. However, in many businesses, these responsibilities overlap. Most programmers work in an office setting, and there is usually little interaction with clients. The median annual wage of $84,280 for programmers is more than twice the national median. While the number of available positions in this field is expected to decrease 7.2 percent by 2026, the number of software development jobs is expected to increase by 24 percent.

Security guard FXT68K

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

13. Security Guards

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 68.4%
  • Median annual wage: $28,490
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 6.3%
  • Total employment: 1,114,380

One of the most popular occupations on this list, security guards are responsible for surveillance activities to protect people and property. Job duties might include monitoring security video feeds, patrolling buildings, and conducting searches at check-ins. Some security guards work around the clock, especially if a building is open 24 hours a day. No college degree is required, and security guards have one of the lowest median wages on this list.

Civil engineering EYFDRW

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

12. Civil Engineers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 69.0%
  • Median annual wage: $86,640
  • Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected employment growth: 10.6%
  • Total employment: 306,030 

Civil engineers conduct design and construction activities for public sector projects, especially roads, airports, water resources, and bridges. Since public infrastructure often requires maintenance, expansion, or repair, civil engineers are in consistently high demand. The projected employment growth of 10.6 percent is higher than the projected growth for all careers. Civil engineers have the highest median annual wage on this list at $86,640.

Graphic designer J70APP

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

11. Graphic Designers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 70.7%
  • Median annual wage: $50,370
  • Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected employment growth: 4.2%
  • Total employment: 217,810

Graphic designers use images, fonts, and other visual elements to create a variety of print and electronic media for clients. They often work with marketers to create logos, brochures, advertisements, and more. Graphic designers are usually well-versed in software programs such as Photoshop, and can work independently, in an agency, or as part of a marketing team.

Warehouse KCW8EF

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

10. Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 73.2%
  • Median annual wage: $33,030
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 0.0%
  • Total employment: 655,950

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks are responsible for handling shipments of different goods. Job duties include maintaining shipment records, assembling packages, creating address labels, and recording incoming packages. No advanced education is required for this occupation. Employment for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks is expected to remain flat in the coming years.

Factory worker FDP83G

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

9. Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 74.4%
  • Median annual wage: $38,250
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: -10.7%
  • Total employment: 557,510

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers fall under the category of quality control inspectors. They are responsible for approving the quality of different products before being sent out to market. Quality control inspectors may use measuring instruments or test equipment to check for product defects or inconsistencies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this occupation is expected to have one of the largest employment declines by 2026.

Delivery driver PE2T3J

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

8. Driver/Sales Workers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 76.3%
  • Median annual wage: $24,700
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: -1.5%
  • Total employment: 414,860

For those who love driving, working as a driver/sales worker could be a great career option or part-time job. Driver/sales workers transport shipments, such as restaurant take-out or laundry orders, from one place to another within a specific area. Driver/sales workers have the lowest median annual wage on this list.

Nurse J3XJK7

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

7. Medical Equipment Preparers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 77.4%
  • Median annual wage: $36,240
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 11.1%
  • Total employment: 55,610

Medical equipment preparers work for healthcare providers or in laboratory settings to set up and clean medical equipment. This is a hands-on job that focuses more on ensuring the safety of tools and machines than on interacting with other people. Only a high school diploma is required, since most training takes place on the job. Medical equipment preparers have the highest projected growth rate on this list.

Economics DMAT68

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

6. Accountants and Auditors

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 77.8%
  • Median annual wage: $70,500
  • Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected employment growth: 10.0%
  • Total employment: 1,259,930

Accountants and auditors work with a variety of personal and business clients to prepare and examine financial records. Some work as Certified Public Accountants who help households with their taxes, while others work in-house for an organization to help with taxes and other financial responsibilities. During tax season, it is common for accountants to work extended hours.

Accountant KEFEMY

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

5. Budget Analysts

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 80.0%
  • Median annual wage: $76,220
  • Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree
  • Projected employment growth: 6.5%
  • Total employment: 52,810

Similar to accountants, budget analysts are responsible for organizing finances for different firms. More specifically, budget analysts create budget reports that monitor institutional spending and offer recommendations for how to allocate funds. Budget analysts tend to work mostly with numbers, but will work with people such as top executives when offering financial advice based on their findings. Due to the analytical nature of their work, budget analysts typically have a background in accounting, finance, economics, or statistics.

Gas meter CENMHK

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

4. Control and Valve Installers and Repairers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 81.5%
  • Median annual wage: $56,070
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 4.9%
  • Total employment: 51,730

Control and valve installers and repairers specialize in the installation of mechanical devices such as electric meters, gas regulators, and safety valves. They can also calibrate machines for pressure and temperature, and repair malfunctioning devices. This occupation has the lowest total employment on this list.

Industrial mechanics E9K8K9

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

3. Industrial Machinery Mechanics

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 82.2%
  • Median annual wage: $52,340
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 6.7%
  • Total employment: 362,440

Industrial machinery mechanics specialize in fixing factory equipment that is malfunctioning. These professionals must detect and diagnose a machine error before it has a negative effect on production. Examples of factory equipment include conveying systems, production machinery, and hydraulic lifts.

Maintenance worker EEPNTX

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

2. Maintenance and Repair Workers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 89.4%
  • Median annual wage: $38,300
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 7.9%
  • Total employment: 1,384,240

Unlike industrial machinery mechanics, maintenance and repair workers do not specialize in a specific type of machine or industry. Instead, they fix and maintain the physical environment in different buildings, such as schools, apartments, or retail spaces. Duties might include painting, fixing plumbing issues, and maintaining HVAC units. Maintenance and repair workers have the highest total employment on this list.

Truck driver KWHW3G

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

1. Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers

  • Jobs requiring occasional communication or less: 99.2%
  • Median annual wage: $32,810
  • Typical education needed: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Projected employment growth: 6.5%
  • Total employment: 915,310

Light truck or delivery services drivers are responsible for transporting packages within a local area. These workers will usually pick up or deliver packages from businesses and households. Like the other driving-related occupations on this list, only a high school diploma is required as education. Since delivery services drivers usually use a truck or van, they do not need a special license to operate their vehicles. Delivery services drivers must perform physically demanding tasks like driving for long periods of time, loading cargo, and carrying packages to recipients.

Methodology

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey, Employment Projections Survey, and Occupational Employment Statistics. For each occupation, the percentage of jobs requiring occasional communication or less was calculated as the sum of jobs requiring: 1) no communication, 2) seldom communication, or 3) occasional communication. Jobs requiring: 1) frequent communication or 2) constant communication were not included in the percentage. Median annual wages and total employment are for 2018; whereas, the projected employment growth is for 2016-2026.

Only occupations present in all surveys were included in the analysis. Additionally, occupations requiring less than a high school degree were filtered out. Occupations were ordered by the percentage of jobs requiring occasional communication or less.

What do you think?