Forecast: Top-Paying Jobs for the Next Five Years

August 3, 2021
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Author: Mike Scherpenberg

The professional world is changing, and as technology continues to evolve and trends in the workplace shift, the demand is growing for many jobs while shrinking for others. The pandemic has further expedited this shift as many consumers have altered their buying habits, and industries have changed the way business is conducted. Whether you are considering a job change or making educational decisions about your future career, here are some fields that are likely to yield top-paying jobs with salary growth in the next five years based on LaborIQ® forecasts.

What's your future career? Beyond your interests and skills, consider future salary and demand for the role.

It is crucial to note that multiple factors affect the pay scale for any role, including years of experience, city or region, industry and organization size. This article refers to the median salary or mid-point across these factors.

1. Management

Some positions, such as management, will vary greatly and are dependent on the industry. In 2021, management's median pay is around $112K yearly across all levels with an expected growth of 14% overall. By 2025, the median wage for management will be $125K.

Generally, most organizations have three levels of management. At the lowest level are team leaders, forepersons, and supervisors who guide general workers. Department managers lead one or more teams or oversee lower management and carry out the directives of top-level management. A bank branch manager is a good example. Executive-level management, such as a chief executive officer, is accountable for the organization's direction and overall success. Management is an excellent long-term career goal in almost any type of business.

2. Computer and Mathematical

Occupations requiring computer and mathematical skills offer median pay of around $94K in 2021 which is anticipated to grow to $106K by 2025. These jobs have a projected growth of 15% over the next five years.

Examples of job titles in this field include software developer, market analyst, system engineer, cybersecurity analyst, insurance actuary and computer support specialist. Like managers, due to the wide variety of job titles across industries, salary is affected by multiple factors.

3. Legal

The legal profession is another career with various roles, including lawyer, court reporter, judge and paralegal. Currently, those who are legal professionals have annual median pay of $86.8K. This is projected to increase to $94.8K by 2025. Wages between these roles can vary greatly, but forecasts show that annual earnings will increase by almost 12% in the next five years.

The type of law practice and specialty are additional factors that impact salaries. Many professionals enter the legal world as paralegals, doing case research and handling documents. Legal professionals serve in a variety of roles in both civil and criminal law and may work for the government and courts, law firms and in-house at organizations.

4. Architecture and Engineering

Architecture and Engineering occupations include jobs such as chemical engineer, industrial engineer and aerospace engineering technician. The median salary of architects and engineers is around $85.3K in 2021. By 2025, the projected median salary is $94.7K, representing 14% growth in the next five years.

Engineers and architects use science, math and technology for design and manufacturing or construction. These jobs range broadly from researching and developing materials to use in products, to designing tools, robotics, products, buildings, bridges and medical devices, to overseeing large projects and factories.

5. Business and Financial Operations

Within the next five years, business and financial operations will grow by almost 17%. This field includes jobs such as accountants, insurance adjusters and human resources specialists. The median pay range is approximately $74.4K and will grow to $84.4K by 2025.

Accountants help individuals and businesses track their income, expenses and assets and help with tax preparation. An insurance adjuster is responsible for accessing the damage to property such as homes or vehicles to determine how much the insurance company should pay on a claim. Human resources professionals oversee hiring, assisting employees with benefits and help resolve complaints with co-workers and management, among other duties.

6. Health Care Practitioner & Technical

The health care field has a wide variety of positions. At the top of the pay scale are doctors. Many specialized doctors, such as psychiatrists and surgeons, earn a median income of more than $208K annually. The median income of all medical employees is $71.8K, with a forecasted growth of 15% over the next five years. Median salaries will rise to around $90K by 2025.

Positions at the other end of the pay scale include pharmacy technicians, who assist pharmacists in dispensing medication. A pharmacy technician has an average salary of around $34K. Their job is to double-check patients' prescriptions and ensure proper doses and labeling containers for possible interactions from conflicting medications. Registered nurses are responsible for the daily care of patients, including dispensing medicine and assessments, earn median pay in the upper $70K range nationally.

What Career Makes Sense for You?

Grandma’s advice to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer still applies when looking for the best-paying careers. However, as times and technology have changed, other well-paying jobs with good growth prospects have emerged. If you are looking at your options for higher education or considering changing careers, it is a good idea to research different industries as well as jobs.

While your aptitudes and interests will form the basis for your choice, your final decision would also take into consideration the forecasted demand for workers, salary, skills and education requirements, and future advancement opportunities. With management occupations at the top of the list, adding some business classes to your choice of career may help you in any job or industry.

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