Highest Paying Jobs – Trends observed in U.K. and U.S.

While the professions in Technology and Health continue to rule the roost for both regions, business management roles emerge stronger in UK to feature in top 10

Paradigms of a highflying career may change over time with aspects like work satisfaction, growth, and personal learning gaining more power.

However, the society’s yardstick still measures your career success basis your paycheck.

The chances of being asked, “Do you earn good?” are always more than being questioned, “Does your job provides satisfaction?”

Important Insight: High Pay is on most occasions tied with in-demand skills that have lesser/nil risk of replacement, competition and automation. Other things that make professions get listed in highest paying jobs are the ones that require knowledge of complex laws, technical skills or intense human judgment.

We always wonder and are eager to learn what are the top paying jobs and can our skill sets help us to get one of them.

This is true at any phase of life. Students and parents worry about it when choosing a course or college, professionals looking for a mid-way career change consider it to know where the market is moving and the remaining section reads it either out of curiosity or to feel good/bad about ones’ own jobs.

What are the Considerations in Defining High Paying Jobs?

Different research studies vary in their approach and factors considered in arriving at the best paying jobs.

But the most common features that are go into the calculation include:

  1. Median Salary
  1. Number of Expected Openings / Hiring Demand
  1. Advancement Opportunities
  1. Career Fulfillment
  1. Stress Levels
  1. Work Life Balance
  1. Current Employment Rate (% of people currently employed)

With due respect to lifestyle and engagement factors, it is still safe to say that money is the crowd puller.

In fact, as per a recent Glassdoor survey, nearly 7 in 10 people consider salary and compensation as a top priority when choosing a job.

America’s Highest Paying Jobs

The world of employment is plagued by a perennial debate whether a fat paycheck drives employee satisfaction or not.

In midst of polarized opinions, certain individuals are laughing their way to bank without much concern for the debate.

In a landscape where developers and engineers thrive, U.S. seems to be paying their medical professionals mighty well.

Here are few top paid jobs.

7 in 10 people consider salary and compensation as a top priority when choosing a job

Physicians, Doctors and Surgeons

Fathom this fact. Anesthesiologists of the medical lot earn the highest with mean salary of $235,070 per annum.

Physicians and Surgeons follow closely by earning in the range of $191,880 to $233,150.

Other medicine categories like Obstetricians, Gynecologists, Orthodontists, Psychiatrists, and Pediatricians also draw supreme paychecks

Nurse Practitioners and Dentists though might not match the pay levels of above categories, have high levels of job satisfaction scores and growth opportunities.

Petroleum Engineer

Exploration for and extraction of oil are central to the energy industry, a major plank of the American economy.

The need for more engineers drives both high growth outlook and wages for this category earning them a median salary of $130,050

Data Scientist

A profession still waiting to be explored to its full potential, Data Scientists can command competitive salaries owing to the new and rare skill set with average salary of $124,150.

UK’s Highest Paying Jobs

While medical practitioners do feature among the country’s top earners, there are other professions that give serious competition to doctors and surgeons with the paychecks they are able to command.

Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers

While their salaries vary depending upon the employer, experience and aircraft they operate, the profession still tops the list with average median salary of £84, 592

Transport Associate Professionals

With an average income of £77,029, this group includes engineers and planners working on air, rail and road networks in UK

Marketing and Sales Director

The top honchos at UK’s biggest marketing and sales agency are paid handsomely with average income amounting to £68,338

Senior Police Officials

Keeping the nation safe comes with a reward of hefty pay package with detectives, constables, commissioners and other senior ranking staff (including Metropolitan Police) drawing average wage of £65,843 per annum

The overlaps: U.S. and UK

Both the regions have certain common set of professions that qualify in their list of top paying jobs.

These include:

Chief Executives

Not to be left far behind the C-Suite take home package is around $178,400 excluding perks and other benefits.

One interesting thing to note here is that CEO and other top executive remuneration had little to do with their MBA degrees and Ivy League college education but more on their on-job experience and track record of successful stints.

In UK, Chief executives may also be known as Managing Directors or CEOs and draw average salary of £111,413


The salary range for Legal professionals that includes In-house company lawyers, Patent attorneys, judicial clerks and advisers is to the tune of $130,580 to $144,550.

For UK, the numbers are approx. £80,578

Solutions Architect

With median base salary of $119,500 for U.S. and £63,500 for UK, Solutions Architect nudge ahead of systems architect and software architect based on the number of job openings and growth outlook associated with the domain.

Air Traffic Controller (ATC)

Recruitment outlook for ATC might be low owing to automation and pinch felt by the air travel industry.

However, due to the stress levels and specialized skills that make planes take off and land safely, ATC earns median salary of $122,340 for U.S. and £73,430 for UK

Whether UK or U.S., the above jobs do give all of us some serious “Income Goals” to strategize and work our way up to the top.


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Written By

Mitalee Chhatre

Mitalee, a true professional with over 5 years of corporate experience in Human Resources and Health Sector. Contributor on CakeHR where tracks the newest trends and practices of the work-life world.