Millennials are usually defined as those individuals born between 1980 and 1996. While the specific dates may vary, this generation, sometimes called Generation Y, differs significantly from its parent generation, known as Generation X. Generation X individuals certainly saw many cultural and societal changes as they grew into adulthood. However, Millennials have seen even more changes especially in the areas of research, medicine and technology. Today, technology has taken over nearly every aspect of life, and Millennials are using this special knowledge of theirs to their own advantage.
There are over 70 million Millennials in the United States today, and their age puts them in an important place within the workforce. They are old enough to begin taking more managerial roles but are still young enough to be a major part of the workforce for several decades. In fact, research shows that 60 percent of individuals in this age group are currently open to taking a new work position, and 20 percent of them did change jobs within the past year.
With so many Millennials looking for jobs, it is important to note what types of jobs interest them most. Technology, medicine and business seem to be the most intriguing job opportunities, offering plenty of growth as well as great salaries to individuals who have experience and strong backgrounds in these fields already. These higher-paying jobs are quite important to Millennials who may still have plenty of student debt to pay off and who often have consumer debt, car loans and home mortgages begging for their attention.
According to a survey by U.S. News and World Report, Millennials use salary, work/life balance and perceived stress levels to determine what job they will ultimately take. These top 10 high-paying careers are among the best for Millennials because many offer great job security, upward mobility and fantastic work/life balance along with amazing salaries.
1. Financial Advisor
Despite the prominence of technology in the lives of so many Millennials, a numbers-based career is still a top contender in the list of highest-paid careers for this age group. A financial advisor makes far more money than those in similar careers, such as accounting, do because of his or her experience and specific personalized services.
A financial advisor works with clients to help them use their money and other assets in the best possible ways to preserve their finances during calamitous times and to grow their assets in whatever way possible. For example, a financial advisor may provide help with retirement accounts, stocks, debt management, estate planning and even taxes. Advisors work with younger clients who want to start growing their savings or buy a house as well as with older adults who are reaching retirement age or who are wanting to begin planning for long-term care. The advisor will provide specific information to help clients make wise choices based on current markets and future prospects to create long-term wealth.
While financial advisors can often choose their own hours and enjoy a positive work-life balance, they do typically have higher stress levels because they feel the weight of their clients’ financial well-being resting on their shoulders. Plus, many advisors are self-employed, making them carry much of their workload alone.
However, the pay-off for this higher stress level is great. The average salary for these professionals is currently at $90,640. In 2016, over 270,000 individuals were employed as financial advisors, and jobs are expected to grow by 15 percent by 2026.
The health care industry cannot be left out of this list because it continues to grow at a quicker-than-average pace and because it remains an important area for well-educated Millennials to find meaningful jobs. Many healthcare jobs pay well, but pharmacists have it particularly good with high salaries and prestigious careers.
Pharmacists can work in hospitals, clinics and retail pharmacies, which could be located in drugstores, grocery stores or other urban and suburban areas. Although their main tasks are formulating and dispensing medications to patients, they also regularly provide patient education and may give immunizations to pediatric and adult clients. In fact, many individuals look to pharmacists for high-quality health information.
Pharmacists begin their education with a four-year bachelor’s degree and proceed to another four-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree. After this, they must pass two examinations to become licensed.
All of this hard work certainly pays off with average pharmacist salaries at $124,170. There are currently over 310,000 people employed in this profession in the United States, and the number of jobs is expected to increase by 6 percent by 2026. Currently, 35 percent of pharmacists are Millennials.
3. Data Scientist
Data scientists use their backgrounds in both math and technology to forge bold, new careers for themselves. Although this is a difficult job to land simply because there are so few positions available and so many people wanting to get into each open position, it is an incredibly rewarding field. Applicants must have strong backgrounds in statistics as well as in software engineering and must be able to analyze large amounts of information and organize data.
These individuals may study data to help businesses develop better Websites or improved sales plans. They will also be able to create visual presentations of the data they find to get across important information to their colleagues. They may work with programming languages, artificial intelligence and text analytics. Not only must they have great foundations in math and science, but also they must be curious and have great communication skills.
This career has routinely been named as the best job in America, and it is one of the highest-paying jobs these days as well. Median salaries top $110,000 with many people making far more than this based on their experience and the number of hours they work. It does require a master’s degree, but those who pursue this degree will soon find themselves with more job opportunities than are currently available. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer scientist and software scientist jobs to increase by a whopping 19 percent by 2026.
Choosing a career as an actuary is another great choice for Millennials who favor mathematics and statistics. Similar to a data scientist, an actuary studies data to help businesses come up with wise plans. However, actuaries deal more with finances than they do with computer language, helping to guide clients and businesses down smart financial paths by helping them minimize risk and create new financial policies.
The majority of actuaries work at insurance companies where they help determine new policies by estimating risk factors. They may work with health, life, property or casualty insurance in particular. Others work with retirement accounts and pension plans while some work for the federal government in the realms of Social Security and Medicare. They may work alongside accountants and financial analysts to create forecasts for new products and policies.
Today, over 50 percent of actuaries are Millennials, and this career is only expected to grow in the coming years. In fact, the number of actuary jobs is set to increase by 22 percent by 2026 with over 5,000 new jobs created in that time. Today, the average pay for an actuary is $102,880, and those in the highest earning brackets make well over $180,000. However, it may be hard for these individuals to achieve good work-life balance because approximately one-third of actuaries regularly work overtime.
Listed as number one in the best-paying jobs, an anesthesiologist has a great career ahead of him, filled with high demand and excellent annual salaries. While the reported stress level of this career is quite high, many Millennials gravitate to this job for the challenge, the incredible upward mobility and the chance to help others every day.
Anesthesiologists are a type of doctor in that they must take the Medical College Admission Test and attend medical school. Next, they have a one-year internship and another three-year residency in anesthesiology. A fellowship may follow for those who want to specialize, such as in critical care.
These medical professionals most frequently work in the operating room where they produce safe, drug-induced comas for patients undergoing all types of surgeries. They also work in labor and delivery departments where they provide epidurals or spinal blocks for patients. They also help with intubations and other procedures where patients must be “asleep.” These professionals are truly a godsend to patients who would otherwise have to deal with overwhelming discomfort and anxiety during in-depth medical and surgical procedures.
Anesthesiologists are rewarded with great salaries. The median salary for these professionals is an incredible $208,000 per year. Although fewer than a third of anesthesiologists are Millennials due to the long educational time needed, this is expected to become a hot job for Millennials in the coming years because of the well-documented aging workforce in this field.
6. Nuclear Engineer
Nearly 60 percent of nuclear engineers today are Millennials, making this a very popular career for this age group. Of course, these engineers must have very specific educations because they will be making the equipment and processes to develop and use nuclear energy. Not only do they create the equipment, but also these engineers must operate and maintain it, oversee nuclear facilities and operations and test nuclear equipment regularly. They must stay constantly up-to-date on changes in this field and be very aware of their surroundings and equipment because safety concerns are rampant in this field.
However, nuclear engineers are well-rewarded for their sometimes dangerous work. The median salary is $107,600 annually with some making as much as $162,000 per year. Those making the most are often working overtime hours, which approximately one-third of nuclear engineers do regularly. The job outlook is also healthy with 700 new jobs projected by 2026. However, because the field is so small yet jobs are so hot, Millennials often have a hard time landing a job as a nuclear engineer.
7. Software Developer
Those who love computers and programming may find that a career in software development best suits them. With over 300,000 jobs currently in this field in the United States and an expected rise of 24 percent by 2026, those pursuing this career path should find it easy to gain employment in their desired field upon graduation. Plus, this job does not require a master’s degree or a doctorate, making it a great choice for Millennials who do not want to spend too much money on student debt or who do not want to have to return to school to land their dream job. Most software developers begin with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Software developers are behind many of the world’s greatest technologies as well as everyday tech, including apps, computer programs, Websites and digital appliances. They may work behind desks, at computers or out in the field or in plants when new materials are being produced. They may help with development, check programs for bugs and write code for software or computer systems.
There are many benefits for those who choose software development as their preferred field. These professionals have good upward mobility, average stress levels and great flexibility in their working schedules. Most people wanting a job in this field can find one quickly. Software developers boast a measly 1.9 percent unemployment rate. They also make great money with the average median pay at $110,000.
8. Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
More outgoing Millennials who prefer to be out on the front lines rather than behind a computer for most of the workday may prefer a job as a public relations or fundraising manager. While getting to this management position typically requires at least five years in a related job, the upward mobility in this area is quite high, allowing individuals to climb the corporate ladder quickly to get to the highest paid and most coveted positions. Currently, over 73,000 individuals are employed in these related positions, and jobs are expected to increase by 10 percent by 2026, which is slightly faster than average.
A public relations manager is in charge of employees who help to improve the image of a company. This person must have great interpersonal and communication skills and must be able to get information across quickly and accurately. Fundraising managers work to raise money for companies. A majority of these individuals work for religious, non-profit or private institutions although some do work for educational systems or for local, state or federal governments.
While the stress level is often high for these people, the payback more than makes up for it. Average annual pay is currently at $114,800 while the highest paid 10 percent of people in this career can make over $200,000 per year. Those working in professional and technical settings typically make more than do those working for religious or educational organizations.
9. Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analyst jobs are listed as the second best opportunity in technology careers and among the top 10 in high-paying jobs for Millennials. This job is different from that of a software developer or programmer, but individuals must still have a deep knowledge of computers and software. These people help businesses and organizations of all types appropriately use the software that they have to improve workflow, sales and customer retention. Analysts look at how organizations are currently using their technology and software and work to improve the efficiency and efficacy of networks and computer systems. Plus, these individuals must also have mathematical knowledge to produce spreadsheets and data to show businesses how their methods will improve the bottom line.
These analysts may work for specific organizations or they may work as independent contractors. They could work on several projects simultaneously for a single company, or they may move from project to project as they work for one client at a time.
Although computer systems analysts may not make as much as do some others on this list, they still make a healthy average of $88,740 per year. Plus, their jobs are more flexible and less stressful than many other high-paying jobs are. This job is projected to grow by 9 percent by 2026 with 54,400 new jobs added by that time.
10. Environmental Engineer
Many Millennials are highly interested in the health of the environment these days, and a job as an environmental engineer is a smart and obvious choice for many of them. This is an entry-level position that only requires a bachelor’s degree to begin. With 53,800 jobs currently, this area is expected to grow by 8 percent by 2026 with 4,500 new jobs added.
Environmental engineers help to preserve and enhance the world by working in a variety of areas, including biology, chemistry and engineering. They may work with soil, water, wastes, air pollution and even public health. They try to reduce hazards both to people and to the earth using their backgrounds in science and mathematics.
The unemployment rate is currently less than 2 percent for environmental engineers, meaning that most people find it easy to get a job in this field. Plus, the $86,800 average annual pay makes this career a boon to Millennials who want to get into a new field or who want to find a high-paying job without having to sink most of their own money into years of college. With a simple four-year degree, many environmental engineers can begin working in a variety of environments immediately, including hospitals, offices and outdoor sites. Many work alongside lawyers, urban planners and waste removal managers, and more than a quarter of them work for federal, state or local governments.
Millennials have plenty of opportunities when it comes to healthy, growing, high-paying careers that can make them feel excited about work again. Whether Millennials want to grow their savings, add to their retirement accounts, enjoy a fabulous lifestyle right now or even pay off debt, the annual pay for each of these jobs makes it simple to find financial freedom and great job security.