In the United States, 40 hours of work per week is generally considered full-time employment. Though nearly 130 million Americans work full-time, they are compensated differently depending on where they live and what they do.
The highest paying jobs in the country tend to be high-skill, high-responsibility positions that typically require education credentials beyond a bachelor’s degree. They tend to be heavily concentrated in the technology, professional services, and engineering sectors. Conversely, the jobs with the lowest salaries tend to have minimal educational requirements, if any, and generally come with more limited responsibility.
In an email exchange with 24/7 Wall St., Glassdoor career trends expert Allison Sullivan explained some of the factors that affect salary. “The demand for more workers in tech and health care is one reason we’re seeing a number of roles in these fields offer top dollar pay for qualified workers. Roles in these industries tend to require advanced education or specialized skills, which are highly valued and can help drive up earning potential,” Sullivan said.
For any job, high paying or not, wages can vary substantially by city. Regional factors such as demand for certain skill sets and cost of living affect the compensation for certain jobs by city. For example, in San Francisco, a city known for its concentration of tech companies and a near nation-leading cost of living, the typical entry level software engineer earns $121,117 a year, about $34,000 more than the typical software engineer is paid across the country as a whole.
Using data from recruiting and data company Glassdoor, 24/7 Wall St. identified the highest and lowest paying jobs of the year. Jobs were ranked based on the average median base pay from January through November 2018. City-specific salary and pay-growth data also came from Glassdoor. Highest and lowest salary figures only apply to 10 largest American cities, which were the 10 included by Glassdoor. Only the 83 jobs for which sufficient data was available were considered. This is not a Glassdoor commissioned report.