A Complete Guide to the Highest-Paying Jobs, Companies, Freelance Jobs and More
Knowing what company or job pays the most is a smart matter to consider when you’re job hunting or still in school shaping your future. While income might not be your highest priority when deciding your career, chances are, it’s a factor.
Considering the formidable cost of college and other higher-education programs -- and the student loan debts that many of us carry around for decades following graduation -- it makes sense to be practical and strategic about which career and which companies you pursue. All of these decisions add up to your financial future.
Click through these next five slides to get a quick download on the highest-paid jobs, companies, majors, side-gigs for recent college graduates and more.
25 Highest-Paying Jobs for 2017
Health-care and technology jobs dominate the list of the top 25 highest-paying jobs in America for 2017, according to Glassdoor. Once again this year, physician marks the top of the heap as the highest-paying job with a median base salary of $187,876. Six out of the 25 most lucrative jobs are in specialized health-care, from physician’s assistant ($112,529) to pharmacy manager ($149,064).
Glassdoor’s research underscores a clear demand for people well-versed in technology and software, including applications development manager ($112,045), software engineering manager ($109,350) and data architect ($102,091).
The need to fill high-paying jobs in tech is clearly growing and reflects a U.S. deficit of qualified STEM graduates and workers. According to New American Economy, in 2016 the number of available STEM jobs outnumbered the number of available STEM-trained workers by 3 million. If you’re in school and wondering where the future of high-paying jobs is, look to a major and a career in a STEM field.
On the other hand, fewer law jobs appear on this year’s Glassdoor list than in the past. However, patent lawyer is one of the top 10 highest-paid jobs at $139,272.
Median Base Salary: $187,876
2. Pharmacy Manager
Median Base Salary: $149,064
3. Patent Attorney
Median Base Salary: $139,272
4. Medical Science Liaison
Median Base Salary: $132,842
Median Base Salary: $125,847
6. Enterprise Architect
Median Base Salary: $112,560
7. Physician Assistant
Median Base Salary: $112,529
8. Applications Development Manager
Median Base Salary: $112,045
9. R&D Manager
Median Base Salary: $111,905
10. Corporate Controller
Median Base Salary: $110,855
Check out the full list.
To learn about America’s highest-paying companies and more, click through the next four slides.
25 Highest Paying Companies for 2017
Technology companies make up the majority of the highest-paying companies on a list released by Glassdoor this year. Not shockingly, 20 out of the 25 companies listed belong to the tech-sector. And even though physician is the highest-paying job in America for 2017, hospitals and other institutions that employ doctors didn’t make the cut. (This research examined the median salary across all salaries within a company.)
Consulting companies top this list, which supports prior research determining that higher income is closely related to higher education and hot skills. In the case of consulting and technology jobs, companies are willing to pay top dollar for highly specialized skills and social capital (e.g. personal contacts) in the face of growing talent shortages, according to Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist.
If you’re considering a career in technology or consulting, also consider the top 10 highest-paying companies for 2017:
1. A.T. Kearney (Consulting)
Median Total Compensation: $175,000
2. Strategy& (Consulting)
Median Total Compensation: $172,000
3. VMware (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $167,050
4. Splunk (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $161,010
5. Cadence Design Systems (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $156,702
6. Google (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $155,250
7. Facebook (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $155,000
8. NVIDIA (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $154,000
9. McKinsey & Company (Consulting)
Median Total Compensation: $153,000
10. Amazon Lab126 (Tech)
Median Total Compensation: $152,800
Find the full list here.
To learn about 10 in-demand freelance jobs and more, click through the next three slides.
10 In-Demand Freelance Jobs for 2017
Some freelancer skills pay more than others, says serial entrepreneur and online marketing expert John Rampton. He’s learned this firsthand in his 10-plus years of experience both working as a freelancer and hiring freelancers. In fact, some freelance jobs actually pay six figures.
Related: The Top 10 Highest Paid YouTubers
Not surprisingly, many of the freelance jobs that pay well require specialized skills, such as programming and front-end and/or back-end developer knowledge, as well as digital fluency.
1. Natural language processing/Twilio API Development
Compensation: $100,000 annually
2. Swift development
Compensation: $85,000 annually
3. Social media management
Compensation: Between $67,750 and $94,250 annually
4. Amazon Marketplace Web Services (MWS)
Compensation: Depends on scope of project
5. AngularJS development
Compensation: $102,000 annually
6. MySQL programming
Compensation: Between $45,495 and $99,187 annually
7. Instagram marketing
Compensation: $15 per hour
8. Twilio API development
Compensation: $35 per hour
9. Brand strategy
Compensation: $61,044 annually
10. Business consulting
Compensation: $71,254 annually
To read the entire list of 25 in-demand freelancer jobs, go to Rampton’s “Employers Are Paying Freelancers Big Bucks for These 25 In-Demand Skills.”
To learn about high-paying side jobs for recent college grads and more, click through the next two slides.
10 High Paying Side Jobs for Recent College Graduates
It takes an average of six months for recent college graduates to land a full-time job. Instead of waiting for that first job offer, which can take a while, recent college graduates can make money and gain experience doing part-time work that has a lower barrier of entry.
The following list of high-paying side jobs compiled by FlexJobs takes into consideration what recent college graduates would be qualified to do, the time commitment and work location flexibility required for someone balancing a search for a full-time job, as well as the pay. These jobs all pay more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. (Pay information is from PayScale.com.)
For those who are fresh out of college, here are 10 high-paying side jobs.
1. Marketing Consultant or Specialist
PayScale median hourly rate: $34.57
PayScale median hourly rate: $20.34
PayScale median hourly rate: $19.24
4. Copy Editor
PayScale median hourly rate: $18.42
5. Gaming Technical Support Representative
PayScale median hourly rate: $17.70
PayScale median hourly rate: $17.49
7. Community Manager (Social Media)
PayScale median hourly rate: $17.46
PayScale median hourly rate: $17.28
9. Image Reviewer (Photography)
PayScale median hourly rate: $16.47
10. Social Media Specialist
PayScale median hourly rate: $16.28
To learn about the highest-paying college majors, click through to the next slide.
10 Highest Paid College Majors
Here’s another argument for majoring in a STEM field worth almost $3.5 million. Findings from a 2015 report from Georgetown University's Center on Education and Workforce underscore that “a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering (the highest-paying major) brings in ... $3.4 million more than a degree in early childhood education (the lowest paying major) ... over a lifetime,” writes Laura Entis for Entrepreneur.
College majors matter when it comes to lifetime income. Degrees in STEM studies, business and health-related fields pay off considerably better than degrees in liberal arts and education. The list of the top 10 highest-paying majors shows that an engineering degree will lead to the highest financial gains -- with nine out of the 10 majors engineering-related.
Here are the 10 highest-paying majors by average annual income:
1. Petroleum engineering: $136,000
2. Pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and administration: $113,000
3. Metallurgical engineering: $98,000
4. Mining and mineral engineering: $97,000
5. Chemical engineering: $96,000
6. Electrical engineering: $93,000
7. Aerospace engineering: $90,000
8. Mechanical engineering: $87,000
9. Computer engineering: $87,000
10. Geological and geophysical engineering: $87,000