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Published: Dec 30, 2022 16 min read
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Jobs in business can be lucrative and rewarding career options for people with the right skills and experience. Some of the highest paying business jobs include the word chief at the beginning of the title and are the top executives at a company, such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) — but these are by no means the only positions that can be lucrative.

Business roles require a combination of business acumen, technical skills, and leadership abilities, and may involve managing teams, developing strategies, analyzing data, or providing legal or medical services. While salaries can vary widely depending on the size and success of the organization, the level of responsibility, and the individual's education and experience, ZipRecruiter data, business management positions can reach almost $100,000 a year.

The job market has good news as well, with business and financial occupations projected to experience solid growth and an estimated increase of 7%, to generate approximately 715,100 new jobs across various specializations.

Our top picks for the highest paying business jobs

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Compliance officer

A compliance officer is responsible for ensuring that an organization is adhering to all relevant laws, regulations, and policies. This includes identifying potential compliance issues, developing and implementing compliance programs, and providing training and guidance to employees on compliance matters. They may also examine and evaluate contracts, licenses, agreements, permits and other documents, as well as conduct investigations related to eligibility and conformity with said laws and regulations.

To be successful in this role, a compliance officer should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, excellent communication and interpersonal abilities, and a thorough understanding of relevant laws and regulations. They should also be able to work independently and handle multiple tasks and projects concurrently. Compliance officers may hold a variety of professional certifications, such as a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) or a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Depending on the organization and its specific compliance needs, some employers may accept candidates with related degrees or equivalent work experience. The mean annual wage for compliance officers is $75,810, with a mean hourly wage of $36.45.

Management analyst

A management analyst, also known as a management consultant, helps organizations improve their performance by analyzing current business processes and developing strategies for improvement. They may work with a variety of clients in different industries and may specialize in a particular area such as supply chain management or human resources.

In essence, management analysts act as advisers who help organizations improve their performance by restructuring their operations and determining how best to allocate resources. They should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, excellent communication and interpersonal abilities, and the ability to work independently and handle multiple tasks and projects concurrently.

Management analysts should also be able to adapt to new environments and industries quickly. They may hold a variety of professional certifications, such as a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) or a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), as well as a background in business administration, economics or finance.

A bachelor’s degree is the common educational baseline for a management analyst position, but many employers prefer to hire those equipped with a master’s degree in business administration. In the May 2021 report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), management analysts have a median annual wage of $93,000 and a median hourly rate of $44.71.

Human resources specialist

Human resources (HR) specialists understand the importance of recruiting quality employees who fit the job specifications and company culture. They efficiently screen applicants so that only suitable ones move on to the interviewing phase. Through careful consideration and personality assessments, they determine which candidate is most qualified and experienced to fill the position.

HR specialists also ensure that new hires receive appropriate placement in the workplace, and they regularly tend to employee matters such as compensation, benefits, training and interpersonal relations. By attending to these vital duties, human resources specialists ensure smooth operations for their organizations.

A bachelor's degree in human resources, business, communications or a related field is often required to enter the profession due to the complex nature of typical job duties. The median annual wage for human resources specialists in May 2021 is $62,290 with a median hourly rate of $29.95.

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Marketing manager

A marketing manager is responsible for developing and implementing a company's marketing strategy. This includes identifying target markets, creating marketing campaigns, and tracking the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Marketing managers may work in a variety of industries and may specialize in a particular area such as digital marketing or brand management.

The role often entails developing marketing plans and budgets; maintaining relationships with customers, partners, and industry influencers; and collaborating with other departments, such as product development, sales, and public relations, to ensure a cohesive marketing strategy. They must also track and measure their efforts with tools like Google Analytics.

To be successful in this role, a marketing manager should have strong communication and interpersonal skills, excellent analytical and problem-solving abilities, and a creative mindset. They should also have a strong understanding of marketing principles and be up to date on the latest trends and technologies in the field. Marketing managers may hold a variety of professional certifications, such as a Certified Marketing Manager (CMM) or a Certified Digital Marketing Professional (CDMP).

Marketing manager applicants typically need a college degree in a business field, such as marketing or communications, and experience. The median annual wage for marketing managers is $135,030, according to the BLS May 2021 report.

Financial examiner

A financial examiner is responsible for evaluating the financial stability and compliance of banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. They may also be responsible for examining the financial records and practices of businesses and individuals to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

A financial examiner's job includes the following:

  • Reviewing and analyzing financial reports and records to ensure compliance with laws and regulations
  • Evaluating the financial stability and risk management practices of financial institutions
  • Identifying and investigating potential financial crimes or fraudulent activity
  • Providing recommendations for improving financial practices and compliance
  • Preparing reports and presenting findings to senior management and regulatory agencies
  • Providing training and guidance to financial institutions on compliance issues

This highly technical field requires that candidates be well-versed in regulatory changes to monitor banking operations for safety and soundness effectively. They’re also expected to implement any necessary changes, establish compliance policies and train other examiners on the examination process itself. Financial examiners are essential to safeguard businesses in today's complicated financial industry.

Financial examiner positions require a bachelor’s degree in business or another related field. To ensure their eligibility for the job, their coursework should feature accounting, finance and other relevant disciplines. Financial examiners may hold a variety of professional certifications, such as a Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) or a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) from the Society of Financial Examiners. The May 2021 BLS report shows that financial examiners' median annual and hourly wages are $81,410 and $39.14, respectively.

Project manager

A project manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and overseeing the successful completion of a specific project or group of projects within an organization. Project managers may work in a variety of industries and may be responsible for managing projects of different sizes and complexity, as well as defining project goals, scope and deliverables.

Day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Identifying and managing project resources, including personnel, budgets, and equipment
  • Monitoring and tracking project progress, and making adjustments as needed
  • Communicating with stakeholders, including team members, clients, and senior management
  • Managing project risks and issues, and developing contingency plans
  • Ensuring that the project is completed on time and within budget
  • Providing leadership and guidance to project team members

Becoming a project manager usually requires a bachelor's degree or higher in a business, project management or related field. Project managers may also hold a variety of professional certifications, such as a Project Management Professional (PMP) or a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Employers may prefer someone with a specifically related college degree if the position is in a technical area such as IT or engineering. Professionals in this field earned a median annual wage of $94,500 per year or $45.43 per hour in May 2021.

Insurance underwriter

Insurance underwriters are the keystone of an insurance company’s operation, working directly with the insurer and the agent. They analyze insurance applications to determine the level of risk associated with providing coverage and screen applicants based on actuarial criteria. Underwriters use specialized software to assess risk, review recommendations from the software, and contact field representatives, medical personnel or others for additional information when needed.

After assessing the risk, they decide whether to offer insurance and determine appropriate premiums and amounts of coverage. In doing all this, underwriters are ultimately responsible for helping ensure that policyholders maintain financial protection through their insurance plan.

To be successful in this role, an insurance underwriter should have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, excellent attention to detail, and a thorough understanding of insurance principles and regulations. They should also be able to work independently and handle multiple tasks and projects concurrently. Insurance underwriters may hold a variety of professional certifications, such as a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) or a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC).

A bachelor’s degree is highly valued for insurance underwriter positions, and employers often favor candidates with business degrees in areas such as finance, economics and mathematics. The median annual wage of insurance underwriters in the U.S. is $76,390 per year with a median hourly wage of $36.73.

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Highest-paying business jobs guide

Using a job search site like ZipRecruiter is a great first step to start your business career research and land a business analyst or business economics job. These sites not only match you with potential roles, but can also offer insight into the job description and salary expectations.

What does a businessperson do?

At its most basic, a businessperson is someone involved in activities to make a profit, whether through management, operation or ownership of a business. Businesspeople may work in a variety of industries and may hold a variety of job titles, such as CEO, CFO, manager, entrepreneur, or consultant. Businesspeople are also responsible for making pricing decisions and encouraging innovation through research and development.

Additionally, businesspeople should keep up with trends in markets and industries to capitalize on the changes around them to achieve financial success. They must be aware of the risks associated with their chosen field and remain focused on long-term objectives while being flexible enough to react swiftly to emerging opportunities.

Types of business jobs

Career paths in business can offer a wide variety of employment opportunities. Business jobs encompass many different roles and responsibilities, and they can be categorized into four general subgroups:

  • Accounting and finance: The accounting and finance industry handles a company's financial information. This includes recording, reporting and analyzing a company's financial transactions. Accountants and financial analysts use their skills to help organizations make sound investment decisions and ensure that they comply with financial regulations.
  • Business administration and management: The business administration and management industry is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a company. This includes planning, organizing, directing and controlling a company's resources.
  • Human resources: This industry is responsible for managing a company's employees. This includes recruiting, hiring, training and evaluating employees. Human resource professionals use their skills to ensure that a company has the right mix of talent to meet its business goals.
  • Marketing: The marketing industry creates and delivers messages promoting a company's products or services. This includes advertising, public relations, market research and sales. Marketers use their skills to create campaigns that generate interest in a company's products or services.

Requirements for a business job

Landing a great business job requires more than just a college degree. You’ll need to demonstrate your ability to think strategically, collaborate effectively and make meaningful contributions. Employers are looking for candidates who can parse industry trends and give thoughtful recommendations based on data-driven analysis. Problem-solving skills and the ability to apply creativity to solve complex business challenges should also be demonstrated.

Strong communication and collaboration skills, an understanding of product development and well-defined leadership capabilities are all necessary traits of a successful candidate. If you can manage both strategic goals and day-to-day tasks, and possess essential soft skills like flexibility, adaptability, open-mindedness and initiative, then you have the makings of a competitive business job applicant.

How to find the highest-paying business jobs

Start with top job search sites, such as ZipRecruiter, and look for job postings that list a salary or range of compensation. Consider researching job titles related to what you're looking for and dig into job-posting details like job descriptions, key responsibilities and qualifications to determine the job's value.

You can also find out how much a job pays by asking colleagues in the same industry since they may know which companies commonly offer top salaries. Ultimately, researching job postings and talking to acquaintances should give you an idea of which job possibilities can make you top dollar.

Highest-paying business jobs FAQ

What are the highest-paying jobs in business administration?

Business administration is a versatile field, offering a variety of lucrative job opportunities. Depending on the industry and your skill set, some of the highest-paying positions within business administration are Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Chief Operations Officers (COOs), Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Marketing Managers.

These occupations require strong verbal, written and quantitative skills in addition to an understanding of business practices. CFOs manage a company's financial resources, while COOs oversee operations, distribution, technology and vendor/supplier management services. CEOs take an active role in guiding their organization while managing employees and board members. Marketing managers are responsible for developing creative strategies to promote products and services and drive sales by identifying emerging markets and customer needs.

How stable is a business job?

Business jobs are considered some of the most stable professions, as they create opportunities for individuals to expand their professional networks and experience different job roles while staying within the same environment. That said, no exact formula determines how secure a business job will be.

It comes down to having the right skill set and adapting quickly to an ever-changing market. With careful consideration and planning, finding stability in a business role isn't impossible — it just takes some effort to make sure you don't fall behind.

Does the business industry have high job satisfaction?

While job satisfaction is an individual experience and not everyone will feel the same way about their work, there are certainly benefits to a career in business. Many roles include competitive salaries, benefits packages and training opportunities that can help employees develop their skills. While it depends on individual preferences, overall job satisfaction can be found in the business industry.

Is business services a good career path?

Business services are an ideal career path for many people, offering great remuneration and the potential for career growth. Organizations of all sizes rely on business services professionals to help improve performance, manage budgets and ensure their operations run smoothly.

This field allows skilled professionals to take on interesting tasks that bring out their abilities, from financial analysis and bookkeeping to procurement, organizational consulting and more. Business services can be a gratifying career choice whether you're just starting out or looking to switch tracks in your professional journey.

How we chose the highest-paying business jobs

We looked at various sources such as salary surveys, job postings and skill requirements to make sure we included only the most accurate information, using sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With this data in hand, we sorted through the options by industry and level of responsibility required to create an up-to-date picture of the best opportunities out there. In the end, our comprehensive research clearly defined what makes some of these professional positions stand out in terms of financial compensation.

Summary of Money's highest-paying business jobs