Many people looking for a new job are rethinking their priorities. In fact, from April 2020 to June 2021, the demand for flexible work arrangements grew at a faster pace than any other work priority, according to LinkedIn’s Talent Drivers Survey.
For some workers, however, job stability (which can help fund long-term goals like home buying, starting a family and retirement) remains the most important factor. In fact, as of June 2021, compensation and benefits still outranked work-life balance as the top priority for job seekers.
In this study, SmartAsset analyzed data across nearly 800 occupations to find the most stable and lucrative jobs. Specifically, we ranked high-paying jobs that are expected to grow over the next decade.
SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
This is SmartAsset’s 2022 study on the highest-paying jobs that are expected to grow over the next decade. You can read the previous version here.
Data and Methodology
Of the total 790 occupations delineated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), SmartAsset filtered for those with greater than 10% projected growth in employment over the next 10 years. Additionally, we only considered occupations with 2021 average earnings greater than $68,590 (which is the 75th percentile of annual earnings nationally). This left us with 42 high-paying jobs that are expected to grow over the next decade.
To rank those jobs further, we compared them across four metrics: 10-year expected percentage growth in employment, 10-year expected growth in number of workers, 2021 average earnings and four-year change in earnings from 2017 to 2021.
We ranked each occupation in those four metrics, giving each an equal weighting. We then found each occupation’s average ranking. The job with the best average ranking places first in our study while the job with the lowest average ranking places last.
Four of the top 10 occupations require in-person work. Though remote work is increasing in popularity, nearly half of the top 10 occupations in our study require in-person schedules. This includes both the No. 1 and No. 3 occupations, namely, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Business and financial occupations outrank life, physical and social science jobs. In the previous edition of this study, six occupations belonging to the life, physical and social science category made our list. However, just four occupations made the cut this year. Conversely, business and financial occupations doubled their presence on the list, growing from three to six.
Five occupations are expected to grow by more than 30% over the next 10 years. Nationally, the total workforce is expected to grow by 5.3% from 2021 to 2031. This figure is significantly larger for some occupations, however. In our study, the following five occupations may expect substantial growth: nurse practitioners (45.7%); athletes & sports competitors (35.7%); information security analysts (34.7%); statisticians (32.7%) and web developers (30.3%).
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
Like last year’s edition of this study, a majority of the top jobs are healthcare practitioners and technical occupations. It amounts to a whopping 12 occupations, distributed evenly across the study. The No. 1 and No. 3 occupations (nurse practitioners and physician assistants, respectively) belong to this category. At the other end of the list, the No. 40 and No. 42 occupations (audiologists and chiropractors) also fall in this category.
Four of the occupations in this category earn over $100,000 on average, with nurse anesthetists earning over $200,000 (No. 1 for this metric). The other eight occupations all have average earnings that exceed $79,000.
In the coming 10 years, healthcare practitioners and technical occupations will experience anywhere from 10% to 45% employment growth. The top-ranking occupation (nurse practitioners) is projected to have the highest percentage change in employment over the next decade (45.7%, or an addition of roughly 112,700 workers). And two other occupations in this category (physician assistants and speech-language pathologists) are also expected to see employment growth that exceeds 20%.
Computer and Mathematical Occupations
All six computer and mathematical occupations rank in the top 15 study-wide. One of them - information security analysts - ranks as the No. 2 job overall. The average information security analyst earns roughly $113,300 (up by nearly 14% since 2017). Moreover, the position is expected to grow by 34.7% over the coming 10 years - the third-most across all 42 occupations.
The other five occupations include:
Computer & information research scientists
Operations research analysts
Across those five occupations, computer & information research scientists have the highest earnings and pay increases. In 2021, average earnings for computer & information research scientists stood at almost $142,700, up more than 19% from 2017.
Business and Financial Operations Occupations
Six of the 42 top occupations are business and financial operations jobs, and two of them rank in the top 20. They include:
Agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes
Market research analysts and marketing specialists
When it comes to income, personal financial advisors earn the eighth-highest average income study-wide ($119,960). Two other occupations in this category also have average earnings greater than $100,000: agents & business managers of artists, performers & athletes ($116,410) and management analysts ($100,530).
Over the next 10 years, all six business and financial operations occupations are expected to grow by at least 13%. The occupation of logisticians is projected to have the largest growth with an expected employment increase of nearly 28% (or roughly 54,000 workers).
Tips for Making the Most of Your Paycheck
Project how far your income will stretch. “Adjusted for inflation, stagnant wages leave workers receiving less year over year, making it difficult to pay bills and afford basic household necessities. A worker's occupation of choice should have a clear progression path … [giving] workers the best chance at a higher salary,” says Andrew Gonzales, President of BusinessLoans.com. Using SmartAsset’s paycheck calculator, see how taxes and deductions will impact your pay as you earn more over time.
See where you stand and plan for the future. Retirement is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Get a sense for what your projected retirement plan looks like now and how small changes can impact it for better or worse. Use our free retirement calculator to get started.
Work with an expert. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Questions about our study? Contact email@example.com.
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