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The 30 best-paid jobs beyond investment banking

It's not easy being an banker, peering over the financial precipice into a world where almost every other job pays significantly less than the one you're in now. I n new research reported in the Financial Times today, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that average investment banker in the UK earns £212k a year, or 5.8 times the average salary in the UK private sector.  That's down from 9.5 times the average in 2006.

What to do if you're working in a job which might disappear and leave you ironing your own shirts?  In a document issued earlier this month, the UK Home Office detailed precisely how much can be earned by experienced people working in various highly skilled occupations (defined as occupations requiring a university degree or higher) in the UK. Based upon these Home Office figures, we've listed the must lucrative alternatives below. Some seem surprisingly poorly paid. None are likely to keep ex-investment bankers in second homes. Nor will they be accessible to people who don't have years of specialist training.

Tom Gosling, a reward partner at PWC, says it would be wrong to assume that everyone in banking is earning £200k+ however.  "Investment banking still outstrips most other professions in terms of the opportunity for significant numbers of people to earn large amounts of money" he said. "The high levels of pay are driven by bonuses, which this year were zero for up to half of investment bank employees in some places. There are pockets of people in other industries such as oil and gas, consumer goods, and so on where people can earn as much as mid-level investment bankers, but the averages get brought down in these sectors by huge swathes of lower earners." 

Where people earn the most money outside banking:

1. Telecommunications director:  £78.6k

2. Consultant-level medical practitioner:  £74.5k

3. Very senior (band nine and above) pharmacists and opticians and podiatrists and occupational therapists and other health workers:  £77k

4. Experienced police superintendent:  £53.5k

5. General Practitioner (doctor):  £53.8k

6. Aircraft pilot:  £49.5k

7. Experienced marine engineer:  £40.5k

8. Experienced air traffic controller:  £40.5k

9. Experienced IT worker:  £40k

10. Sales director:  £44.2k

11. Senior teachers, head teachers, head teachers' assistants:  £37.3k

12. Experienced lawyer:  £37.6k

13. Experienced advertising and public relations directors:  £36.5k

14. Experienced prison worker:  £36.4k

15. Experienced IT project manager:  £36.4k

16. Experienced mining/quarry manager:  £35k

17. Actuary/Economist/Statistician:  £33.6k

18. Experienced 'creative manager':  £33k

19. Experienced veterinarian:  £32.8k

20. Experienced project manager:  £31.9k

21. Power system engineer:  £31k

22. Barrister:  £30.5k

23. Experienced university teaching professional: £30k

24. Experienced architect:  £30k

25. Experienced business advisor/business consultant:  £29.5k

26. Experienced aerospace engineer:  £29.1k

27. Experienced manufacturing operations manager:  £29.8k

28. Experienced software programmer:  £29.8k

29. Experienced town planning officer:  £27.2k

30. Chemical, biological and physical scientists (educated to PhD level):  £26k

Source: UK Home Office 

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • sl
    30 April 2013

    im a petroleum engineer - i'd suggest those working in the oil and gas industry are some of the highest paid in the UK evidenced by the state of the housing market in aberdeen. The old John Lewis barometer also works - Aberdeen is the best performing JL in the UK

  • Th
    The Scientist
    27 March 2013

    I am an experienced scientist (educated to PhD level, 4 yrs post doc experience). I get £35 p.a. with a progressive salary bumping automatically by about 1k per year.

    Yes indeed your figures look low.

  • Sa
    Sarah Butcher
    26 March 2013

    Yes: the pay figures seem low. They seem to come from various sources, including a 2011 survey of hours and earnings from the Office of National Statistics. They are, theoretically, for 'experienced' staff. It's possible that they're being dragged down by low figures outside London and a lot of junior low-earners.

  • Th
    The Village Idiot
    25 March 2013

    Experience business consultant at £29.5k. Yup, that sounds about right.
    In other news, Premier League footballers earn about 20k a year.

  • El
    25 March 2013

    This has to be starting salary otherwise the figures are from 1978!!

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