There are very few rates as depressing as employment in this country, but one of them may be marriage. The number of weddings in America has been declining for decades, since premarital sex and cohabitation are no longer taboo, women go to college for more than their "MRS" and high divorce rates have left young Americans a little more skeptical of the whole institution. But if you're looking for a mate in this overworked world, one of the best ways to find one is while you're overworking. Some industries, however, are definitely better than others, according to the country's top matchmakers.
For straight date-seekers, finding an opposite-sex potential mate can be a challenge in certain industries. Women are a rare sight in the worlds of computer programming, firefighting, policing and construction. Men, on the other hand, are less frequently found in teaching, child and elderly care, social assistance, food service, publishing and administrative work.
Here are the worst and best industries to meet someone according to our matchmaking experts:
Worst Industries to Find Love
5. Fashion and Beauty
Janis Spindel, 21-year veteran matchmaker, bestselling author of Get Serious About Getting Married and How to Date Men, and driving force behind almost 1000 marriages, agrees: "The fashion business, where I spent a third of my life, wouldn't be my first choice." She puts interior design in the same category.
If a woman with one of these jobs were to date someone she worked with, chances are it would be a female coworker or her male boss.
Fashion and beauty are to straight women what engineering is to men.
"If you're an engineer in Silicon Valley you're not going to meet a lot of women," said Sherry Singer, the daughter of the mother-daughter duo Meet-A-Mate, who has been in the matchmaking business 25 years and facilitated 600 marriages. Meet-A-Mate is a high-end service, and Singer has seen countless engineers stroll through her door.
1-3. Law, Medicine, Finance
Matchmakers disagree over whether the professional trifecta of law, medicine and finance are good or terrible for finding a mate. On the downside, these fields tend to be fairly insular, and lawyers, doctors and hedge fund operators spend most of their time interacting with other lawyers, doctors and hedge fund operators.
"Doctors don't want to date their patients," Singer explained. "And lawyers are just in their office all day long."
Lawyers, doctors and Wall Street wizards do, however, possess a lot of qualities attractive in a mate, which always helps when trying to find one. According to Spindel, these three careers are the ultimate catches "if you're looking for someone upscale, well-groomed, financially secure, hopefully non-smoking and politically inclined."
But there may be a difference here for men and women. Much has been written about the "success penalty" suffered by women with advanced degrees and hefty paychecks. "A lot of women who are really high-powered with high-income professional jobs... take that energy into the dating realm, and that's not necessarily what guys find attractive. What guys want, from the thousands of interviews I've done, is someone really sweet, fun to be around and sexy," said Melinda Maximova, founder and CEO of the Perfect Search, who over 10 years has fixed up around 150 committed relationships.
Her remarks echo the oft-repeated advice of Patti Stanger, the star of Bravo's hit show The Millionaire Matchmaker. Stanger often tells her female clients, who exhibit the traditionally male attributes that helped them achieve career success (ambition, assertiveness, control, decisiveness, thick skin and confidence) to turn down the "masculine energy."
High education and income, however, over the last few decades, have gradually become more of a turn-on for men. In 2007, 22 percent of American women had higher incomes than their husbands, and only 19 percent of men were more educated than their wives, according to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center.
"Guys are looking for the four Bs," said Spindel. "Beauty, brains, body and balance." And brains are just as important as the rest. For this reason, Spindel claims, a lot of men she matches in L.A. explicitly ask not to be set up with an actress.
Best Industries to Find Love
4. Event Planning
It's always a boost to your dating life if your career involves meeting a lot of different characters. Lisa Clampitt, co-founder of the Matchmaking Institute, believes that party planning or any kind of event planning is the best for finding dates.
Bartending is good also -- something as you might expect from a vocation that involves enabling the recreational inebriation of dressed-up and often single young people.
"If you're the biggest professional in the world, moonlight as a bartender," said Maximova.
2. Divorce Law
Many lawyers may struggle to escape the office, but for some, a stream of singletons comes right to their door. According to Beth Mandel, the head matcher for Club VIP Life, divorce attorneys fill their dance cards with ease.
Several matchmakers agree that their own field is the best career for finding dates. Not only do matchmakers meet thousands of singles at their jobs, those singles are more honest than the average guy in a bar. Having hired you to find their soul mate, they're happier to reveal deeper and more personal truths than would come up usually on a first date.
Maximova's own husband of five years is a former client, who she sent out on dates for a year and even coached for a period. Finally, he said to her bluntly, "I want to date you, so I'm going to have to fire you."
You can even download a training package on Maximova's website to become your own matchmaker, as part of the growing Perfect Search empire. So if you're looking for both a job and a partner, this could be a good way to kill two birds with one stone.