Analysis Reveals the Loneliest Jobs in America

By Neal Taparia - 02/12/2024

An illustration of people working alone

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world welcomed a shift to remote and hybrid working. The ability to work outside of the office allowed people to feel a sense of freedom, but the pandemic also led to an increase in loneliness. In fact, many of these people came to Solitaired to play our games.

According to a National Library of Medicine study, respondents reported feeling lonelier after the pandemic than before it. So as these feelings remain even now, years after the initial outbreak, the once-beloved concept of working independently of a team can also be a source of loneliness.

Since remote work isn’t the only job with the potential for loneliness, our team set out to discover other careers, even ones that existed before COVID-19, that share this same potential for loneliness. With this in mind, our team collected data from more than 750,000 job postings on Indeed to determine which job titles and industries are the loneliest on average. Whether you are a pro at working solo or you enjoy a team environment, read on to learn which career fields are best suited for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Task associates, who stock merchandise at stores, have the loneliest job in America.
  • Paralegals, attorneys, and analysts have some of the highest loneliness scores.
  • Jobs in government, law, public safety, corrections, and environment industries are among the loneliest.
  • People working military jobs are the least likely to be lonely.

The Loneliest Jobs by Title

A table highlighting the top 20 loneliest jobs

Even while surrounded by a crowd of people, it can be easy to feel lonely at work, especially if you do not work alongside a team. Since the increase in isolation due to the pandemic, there has been a larger focus on loneliness as a society.

According to Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, “loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity.” So it is understandable how concern has grown over time.

Our study found the loneliest job in 2024 is the task associate position. This role typically involves restocking shelves at stores, which can feel like tedious work. While this can be a job that requires someone to be surrounded by customers and other workers, feeling disconnected from those people can still allow someone to feel lonely.

A study conducted by Harvard researchers found the jobs people feel the most unhappy in were also among the loneliest jobs. Little human interaction and a lack of opportunities to build meaningful relationships can leave workers feeling miserable on the job, and over time it can lead to feeling unfulfilled. By working at a job where you feel connected to those around you, you can feel a greater desire to remain at that company and continue to grow, while also improving your mental health.

In second place for the loneliest jobs is a senior paralegal. Out of the top 20 loneliest jobs, five are senior-level positions, which may mean some career fields get lonelier the higher you climb the ladder.

Coming in third is a manual machinist, who specializes in developing tools and more through machinery. In fourth place is a ​​field sales representative. Working in the field can mean less time in an office, and for some people, this can mean less face-to-face interaction with others.

The Industries Where Workers Are Loneliest

A table showing the industries where workers feel the most and least lonely

According to a study conducted by Cigna, an insurance company, two out of three workers consider themselves to be lonely. This loneliness does not simply impact the individual worker, however, as reports show that feeling lonely can lead to less productivity and even increased spending on physical and mental health care.

So our team set out to find which industries are most likely to face these economic costs due to loneliness on the job. In first place is the government and public administration industry, where workers typically spend their days planning and performing tasks concerning national security, revenue and taxation, regulations, and more.

The second loneliest industry is law, public safety, and corrections. In this industry, job tasks include providing legal, public safety, and protective services. In third place is the environmental industry. While this does not mean all jobs in these industries will leave you feeling isolated, these are simply the industries that have the most job postings that could result in feelings of loneliness.

On the other hand, people working military jobs are the least likely to experience loneliness. Other industries that offer more companionship include hospitality and tourism, food and beverage, and automotive.

The Loneliest Jobs by Industry

A table showing the job workers feel the most lonely in by industry

As mentioned, regardless of an industry’s loneliness ranking, there are still jobs that can leave people feeling isolated. With this in mind, our team set out to find which job title is typically the loneliest in each industry.

In the advertising and marketing industry, photographers are typically the most lonely. For some people, this solo style of work is where they thrive, but for others, it leaves them seeking more in-person interactions.

It can be easy to view the education industry as a field that is typically surrounded by others. But that is not always the case for recruiters, as the role ranked as the loneliest position in the industry.

While the gaming industry spends a lot of time working with others, store managers are the most likely to feel isolated on the job. This once again shows the link between higher level positions and loneliness at work.

In addition to finding the loneliest job for each industry, our team ranked the top five roles for each industry. You can view the full breakdown in the interactive table below, or use the search bar to find your industry to see how each job ranked.

Combat Loneliness With a Multiplayer Game

It is natural to feel lonely when you spend the bulk of your time working from home with little to no contact with your colleagues. If you find yourself feeling stressed or isolated, try taking a break and playing an online game.

While we specialize in Solitaire games like Spider Solitaire, Tri Peaks, and Pyramid, we also have multiplayer games like Yahtzee, Hearts, and Spades. Test your luck against opponents, while making online connections. Although virtual games aren’t quite the same as in-person interactions, they can offer an engaging break in an otherwise solitary day.


In this study, we analyzed 750,000+ job posts representing 1,200+ job titles in 30 industries on We searched each job post for indicators that the work could be "lonely," in that it requires independence, self-reliance, and a general ability to work alone. We considered the following key phrases to indicate such work:

Independent, independently, work independently, ability to work independently, autonomous, autonomously, self-reliant, self-motivator, work alone, little direction, choose your own hours, choose your own schedule.

Our findings represent the industries and jobs where job postings contained these key phrases most frequently, averaged across all job posts per position or industry, represented by what we call the "Loneliness Score."

This research was completed in January 2024.

About the author

Neal Taparia is one of the founders of Solitaired. He loves playing card games and is interested in understanding how games can help with brain training and skills building. In addition to card games, he also likes fishing and mountain biking.

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