It's easy to get blinded by the dollar signs when considering a job, but just because a gig pays well today doesn't mean it always will.
CNBC Make It analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify which high-paying roles may seem great at first glance — offering median salaries of more than $60,000 a year, or almost double the American median personal income — but aren't so ideal when you look at their projected growth.
While most jobs in the U.S. are expected to grow about 7 percent on average through 2026, according to the BLS, several occupations won't fare so well, actually declining in their share of workers, meaning more people who hold that job title will actually be fired or laid off rather than hired.
To help you avoid a disappearing occupation, we've identified the 11 highest-paying roles that are also expected to lose at least 2 percent (and as much as 79 percent) of their workforce in the next couple years:
Median annual wage: $82,510
Projected job growth through 2026: - 3 percent
Advances in smart grid technology and modernized control rooms in power plants mean some tasks distributors and dispatches previously performed are now automated, such as rerouting power during an outage, meaning fewer of such workers are needed.
These workers will have trouble finding as high-paying a replacement gig in a similar field. A pivot to a line installer and repairer could work, though the pay is only $64,190 a year. But hiring is expected to grow by 8 percent.
Median annual wage: $60,300
Projected job growth through 2026: - 2 percent
Conductors manage the crews on both freight and passenger trains. They also oversee the safe and correct loading and unloading of passengers or cargo. Yardmasters perform a similar role, but don't board trains, instead they manage the workers in the rail yard and ensure the right freight is loaded. But a drop in demand for the transportation of bulk commodities, like oil and coal, thanks to more pipelines opening and more power plants using natural gas, means less demand for their skills.
Similar occupations that conductors or yardmasters could try shifting towards include: water transportation worker, which pays $55,590 a year and will see 8 percent job growth, and flight attendant, which has a median salary of $50,500 and will grow by 10 percent.
Median annual wage: $80,440
Projected job growth through 2026: - 10 percent
No new nuclear power plants have open in the new millennium and, with existing ones becoming more efficient, the demand for nuclear power reactor operators will fall by 10 percent, the BLS predicts.
Operators who went back to school for an associate's degree could pursue a nuclear technician's job, which pays about the same, $80,370 a year, and is in a related field.
Median annual wage: $74,840
Projected job growth through 2026: - 21 percent
These federal workers handle the operational and administrative services of a post office. A combination of automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes and tight budgets will drastically reduce the number of all postal workers working by 2026, according to the BLS. Add in the fact that more people are opting for electronic bill pay and email to handle tasks that once only went through the mail and the demand for these services isn't what it once was.
Postmasters and mail superintendents will be hard-pressed to find a similar gig in their field. The BLS recommends a move into retail, perhaps at a manager level, which could pay $89,380 a year, as hiring for such roles will grow by 7 percent.
Median annual wage: $62,170
Projected job growth through 2026: - 9 percent
These workers oversee everything from operating chemical processes to the machine systems a plant uses. But a combination of increased efficiency in plants and chemical companies exploring other manufacturing areas, thanks to pressure to become more environmentally friendly, has resulted in fewer workers being needed to manage these plants.
These workers might want to consider switching to an occupation in a similar field, like petroleum pump systems operator, which pays $67,770 annually and will see a modest 3 percent growth in hiring.
Median annual wage: $62,500
Projected job growth through 2026: - 8 percent
These workers supervise the activities of correctional officers and jailers. But with several state governments pursuing legislative changes that would reduce prison terms and provide alternatives to incarceration in order to cut down on the high costs associated with maintaining prisons, fewer correctional officers, jailers, bailiffs, and, thus, their supervisors will be needed in the future.
A similar occupation such supervisors could move into? Probation officers and correctional treatments specialists, which pays $51,410 a year and will grow by 6 percent.
Median annual wage: $60,360
Projected job growth through 2026: -79 percent
In the next couple of years, more than three-quarters of the people who hold this title will be fired or laid off. Firers monitor tracks and train instruments checking for dragging equipment, obstacles on the tracks, and other potential safety problems. But very few trains will keep them on, as a lot of their work has become automated or is now done by the locomotive engineer or conductor.
These workers will have difficulty finding such a well-paying gig in a similar field. They could try to move to tractor-trailer truck driver, which pays $42,480, or material moving machine operator, which pays $34,830.
Median annual wage: $63,200
Projected job growth through 2026: - 8 percent
Thanks to the decline in union membership across the U.S. from 20.1 percent of workers in 1983 to 10.7 percent in 2016, there is less need for these specialists who interpret and administer labor contracts, which typically regard issues such as salary, healthcare, pensions and management policies.
Options for work in similar occupations would require them to battle on behalf of the employers they used to check up on. Gigs like compensation, benefits and job analysis specialist or human resources specialist will pay slightly less, but grow by more than 6 percent.
Median annual wage: $69,760
Projected job growth through 2026: -5 percent
Insurance underwriters review insurance applications to decide whether to provide coverage and under what terms, but technological advancements in the software they use has increased the number of applications each worker can process individually, thereby reducing the overall number of underwriters a company needs. As the software continues to approve and becomes more widely adopted, the BLS predicts much of this job's work will be automated.
Underwriters could pursue similar occupations such as loan officer, which pays a slightly lower wage of $64,660 a year, but is projected to grow by 11 percent, or cost estimator, which pays $63,110 and will also grow by 11 percent.
Median annual wage: $82,240
Projected job growth through 2026: - 7 percent
Considering how frequently we use our computers, it may seem counter-intuitive that this role would be in decline. But thanks to the internet and the very device this job supports, programming can be performed anywhere in the world, meaning companies are increasingly outsourcing this kind of work to people in counties where wages are cheaper.
Instead wanna-be programmers should pursue a similar occupation like software developer, which pays $103,560 a year and is projected to grow by 24 percent.
Median annual wage: $183,270
Projected job growth through 2026: - 4 percent
We get it, this one seems a little odd. After all, if someone offered you this kind of salary, you'd be crazy not to take it, right? But the reason this high-powered, highly-sought after position makes the list is because the number of CEOs in the U.S. has been steadily declining. The rate of company creation in the country has slowed in recent years while acquisitions by larger, more mature companies continue to rise, meaning there are fewer firms to head.
Some good news for aspiring CEOs: Other executive roles will see an 8 percent growth rate, and these jobs pay a median salary of $104,700. So just set your sights a little lower.
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