The Future of Work: 11 Six-Figure Jobs With Growing Demand
Six-figure jobs could help achieve financial security. Here’s what you need to know to land one.
November 4, 2021
The job market is quickly changing. Remote work has become the norm in the post-pandemic world, the tech industry is booming and younger generations are changing the economy. All of these factors impact what tomorrow’s six-figure jobs will look like.
Since U.S. wages are growing faster than ever, now might be the perfect time to land a high salary. But wages aren’t increasing equally across all sectors, so choosing the right career path is essential — and since getting the necessary qualifications can be expensive, you need to be smart with your money.
To help you land the high-paying job of your dreams, we’ll outline:
Recent trends in the job market
The top six-figure jobs
How to plan for the future financially
By the time you’ve finished reading, you should have all the info you need to take action.
Trends in the job market
The days where you could obtain your degree and land a job for life are long gone. A college degree is no guarantee of a high salary, and everything is changing fast — the World Economic Forum predicts 65% of children will work in jobs that don’t exist yet.
But, we can still predict market trends. The median annual wage for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers was $89,780 in 2020, compared to $40,020 for non-STEM careers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
As automation takes hold, jobs involving skills that technology can’t replicate, like creativity and emotional intelligence, are also here to stay.
The economy drives job creation, and Generation Z and millennials are becoming the most influential consumers. Since they care about social issues like sustainability and global equity, we can expect more jobs and businesses to solve these problems.
Top six-figure jobs of the future
Now that you’ve built up a good macro view of what’s happening in the labor market, we can return to the question you really want to answer. Which jobs are going to land you that sweet six-figure paycheck?
Working as a pilot has always been a prestigious career, and the outlook for the future looks just as positive, fueled by demand for travel in an increasingly connected world.
The BLS predicts the number of pilot jobs will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030 — that’s significantly higher than the national average for job growth (8%).
Even better, pilots are comfortably within the six-figure jobs range, earning a median annual salary of $130,440.
You can become a commercial pilot with a high school diploma and pilot’s license, proving it’s possible to succeed without a college degree. However, airline pilots generally require a bachelor’s degree.
Working as an actuary could be your best bet for earning six figures if you’re good with numbers. They use statistical techniques to model risks (e.g., for insurance companies), which is the kind of high-level analysis AI struggles to replicate.
It’s no wonder that the median pay is $111,030 or that the field is expected to grow by 24% over the next decade.
Distribution managers oversee the supply chain of moving goods. Even as the transportation and goods in question change, this job likely isn’t going anywhere soon.
The median salary is $96,390 but can be far higher in certain industries. (It’s $120,220 for non-scheduled air transportation).
In an increasingly digital world, software developers will fuel and maintain the technology we need. Unsurprisingly, projected job growth is 22%, and the median salary is $110,140 annually.
Adjacent careers like programmers and web developers can also be six-figure jobs, but they earn slightly less. A bachelor’s degree in computer science is the typical route into these professions.
Construction management might not be a new job, but the demand for sustainable cities and clean energy projects will fuel the industry.
Construction managers earn around $97,180 per year, but this jumps into the six-figure range with enough years of experience.
Marketing manager or sales manager
Digital marketing has become an essential part of companies’ growth, and effective marketing managers must understand new technologies (such as email automation, social media and analytics software) to execute projects. The average salary is $141,490 a year.
Similarly, another profession having to adapt to new technologies and applications, sales managers earn $132,290 per year.
Services managers oversee customer service departments, meaning they must manage a team and also help customers. Relationship skills are pivotal here. Although automation may replace customer service representatives themselves, the demand for service managers is expected to continue.
On average, the annual salary is $98,890, within touching distance of the six-figure mark.
Organizations have always needed people to chart their future financial direction. But as new financial technologies play an increasingly prominent role, tomorrow’s financial managers will have to rise to fresh challenges.
Demand for financial managers is projected to increase by 17% over the next decade, and they earn $134,180 a year on average.
Information systems manager
At this point, you’ve probably noticed that managerial positions and tech are a good bet for anyone looking to land six-figure jobs. Information systems managers combine the two: They oversee operations to ensure computer systems are running smoothly.
They’ll play a crucial role in the tech boom, with demand set to increase 11% and the average salary standing at $151,150 per year.
Nurse practitioners are the most in-demand workers on this list — job growth is set to increase by 52% between 2020 and 2030, which could possibly be due to the aging population keeping the need for healthcare professionals strong. They earn $117,670 on average.
Unlike other nurses, nurse practitioners need a master’s degree and take on a more advanced role; they can make diagnoses, order tests and prescribe medications.
A dentist might not sound like a futuristic job, but the demand for them isn’t going anywhere soon — and if trends for cosmetic procedures continue to increase, it may rise even faster.
Just like the others on this list, dentists are squarely in the six-figure job category, earning $164,010 on average.
But keep in mind, dentists need doctorate degrees, so you’ll want to plan financially for pursuing an advanced degree.
How to plan for the future
While it’s fantastic to have a high salary, it’s only one part of setting yourself up for success. A six-figure software developer struggling with debt will be in a very different position than a software developer with a financial cushion and a positive net worth. That’s why career planning, getting out of and staying out of debt and saving are all important when planning for your future.
If you need to tackle debt, we recommend following the debt avalanche method: prioritizing the minimum monthly payments for all your debt, then using anything left to cover the loans with the highest interest. Once you get your debt paid down, try to avoid accumulating new debt.
Plus, don’t forget to save for the future. It’s fine to splurge now and then, but your future self will thank you if you don’t spend every penny of your six-figure salary. Once you’ve taken action to control your debt, create a savings goal (or discuss investing with a financial advisor).
When it comes to saving and investing, be clear about your financial objectives. Are you trying to retire at 50? Save for your kids’ college education? Put together a down payment for a house? Knowing the answers to these questions can guide you on how you approach your finances.
Can you smell the success already?
Getting a six-figure job is considered an achievement for a reason. But if you plan for the career you want and get the education you need, you'll put yourself in the best position you can be to secure a six-figure job.
Still, remember that career planning is just one part of working for future success. It’s important to pay off debt and save too.
If you’ve accumulated credit card debt that you want to pay off, the Tally† credit card repayment app could help. Tally takes all your higher-interest credit card debt and consolidates it into a single lower-interest line of credit to help you pay down your credit cards more quickly. The app will also make your monthly payments, so you won’t have to worry about late fees.
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