Technical writers are one of the least happy careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, technical writers rate their career happiness 2.8 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 20% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy technical writers are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
News reporter
3.2
$27k
Desktop publisher
3.2
$47k
Translator
3.1
$35k
Proofreader
3.1
$44k
Copywriter
3.1
$70k
Technical writer
2.8
$78k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are technical writers happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do technical writers find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as technical writers?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are technical writer’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are technical writers making the best use of their abilities?

Are technical writers happy with their salary?

Technical writers rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.3/5. Few are explicitly unhappy with their salaries, with most technical writers having generally positive views of their salary.

We asked technical writers how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

3.3 out of 5 stars

695 technical writers

5 Star
16%

16% of technical writers rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of technical writers rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
28%

28% of technical writers rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of technical writers rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
9%

9% of technical writers rated their compensation 1 stars

Do technical writers find their jobs meaningful?

On average, technical writers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.4/5. The majority of technical writers struggle to find any sort of meaning in their work, likely resulting in less satisfaction with the career overall.

We asked technical writers how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.4 out of 5 stars

695 technical writers

5 Star
7%

7% of technical writers rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
11%

11% of technical writers rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of technical writers rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
30%

30% of technical writers rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
27%

27% of technical writers rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as technical writers?

Technical writers rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.6/5. The majority of technical writers find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked technical writers how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.6 out of 5 stars

760 technical writers

5 Star
22%

22% of technical writers rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
36%

36% of technical writers rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
28%

28% of technical writers rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of technical writers rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
4%

4% of technical writers rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a technical writer’s work environment?

As a whole, technical writers rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.4/5. A solid majority of technical writers enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a technical writer.

We asked technical writers how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.4 out of 5 stars

757 technical writers

5 Star
18%

18% of technical writers rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
36%

36% of technical writers rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of technical writers rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
14%

14% of technical writers rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of technical writers rated their work environment 1 stars

Are technical writers making the best use of their abilities?

Former technical writers on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 2.9/5. Technical writers tend to feel that they don’t manage to use their abilities to their fullest, when compared to other careers.

We asked technical writers how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

2.9 out of 5 stars

760 technical writers

5 Star
11%

11% of technical writers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
20%

20% of technical writers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
29%

29% of technical writers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
28%

28% of technical writers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
12%

12% of technical writers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars