Despite the increasing number of graduates, research shows that earning a degree is still worthwhile to significantly increase your lifetime earnings potential. With this list of the UK’s highest paying jobs and highest paying degrees, we’ve done the research to help you maximize your salary package after college.
The methodology is explained below. Note, however, that these figures do not take account of bonuses or other benefits. Instead, they refer to the median salary (before taxes) of each job, as per official government statistics.
We’ve also taken a closer look at some of the highest paying jobs and what degrees will help you get started in the industry.
Of course, don’t expect to hit the top of the salary range on day one. However, if you want to be there one day, these career choices could be for you.
Highest paying jobs in the UK
These are the best-paid jobs in the UK:
Chief Executives and Senior Officials – £79,835
Marketing, Sales and Advertising Directors – £77,695
Information Technology Directors – £73,571
Specialist Medical Practitioners – £68,614
Headteachers and Principals – £66,686
Public Relations and Communications Directors – £66,510
Financial Managers and Directors – £64,193
Aircraft Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers – £62,778
Functional Managers and Directors (n.e.c.*) – £61,139
Senior Police Officers – £59,141
Train and Tram Drivers – £58,868
Barristers and Judges – £53,110
Health Services and Public Health Managers and Directors – £50,789
Rail Transport Operatives – £50,561
Electrical Engineers – £50,487
IT Business Analysts, Architects and Systems Designers – £50,396
Business and Financial Project Management Professionals – £50,287
Research and Development (R&D) Managers – £50,027
Taxation Experts – £49,916
Paramedics – £49,909.
Chief Executives and Senior Officials
Average salary: £79,835
Chief Executives, also known as Managing Directors or CEOs in the UK, are the most senior people in an organisation. As front runners, it’s probably not surprising that they also have one of the highest paying jobs out there.
You’ll be pleased to know that there are no predetermined formal qualifications for general managers. In particular, some of the world’s most famous CEOs (including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson) dropped out without a degree.
However, if you don’t follow in their footsteps and start your own business, you’ll find that most organizations require their bosses to have at least a bachelor’s degree education.
If you graduate with an economics degree and start your own business, you are likely to prepare for a very well-paying career at the top.
Many CEOs have previously served on the board of directors and may also hold professional or postgraduate qualifications such as an MBA. Leadership skills and a thick skin are also important.
Marketing, Sales and Advertising Directors
Average salary: £77,695
Marketing, sales and advertising are vital to the success of many businesses. It doesn’t matter how good your product is if no one knows!
However, marketing is not limited to the private sector. There are a variety of roles in the public sector and nonprofits, but these may not pay either.
As a marketing director, you can be involved in anything from promoting a new product to raising awareness for a charity.
Like many industries, marketing is highly competitive, and many employers prefer graduates with relevant marketing or business degrees. First professional experience, whether through internships, vacation jobs or internships, is also an advantage.
You can also find great, specialized online marketing courses that you can take for free. These will keep you up to date with the latest practices (marketing evolves pretty quickly) and will look great on your resume.
As for sales, things are a little more open. Competition is still extraordinarily fierce (and unlike many other professions, it’s much easier to gauge who is the best salesperson), but there is less of a need for a degree. Instead, experience and a natural talent for the role are often more important.